Johnathan Burkan, a Wall Street executive and honorary chairman of the Israel Heritage Foundation, joined Arutz Sheva - Israel National News to discuss his firsthand impressions of the ruins of Nahal Oz, one of the towns targeted in the October 7th massacre.

“It was extremely difficult,” he recalled. “I lived there in the summer of 1991, and it was so depressing to see it, but I wanted to do this trip. My father died in February, so I wanted to say Kadish (the traditional prayer for the deceased) for my dad, but I also wanted to go see Nahal Oz. My plane landed at 8:00 in the morning, and I was at Nahal Oz at 11:30 in the morning.’’

Burkan emphasizes that there is no comparison between hearing reports and seeing the town. ‘’It is completely different. I saw this one house where they killed an entire family. One of the girls looked like my daughter. I saw another house where the daughter was shot dead and the father is still a hostage. It was so depressing, with the broken glass and other damage.’’

One memory stands out as even more painful. ‘’What saddens me more is that when I was there, we picked watermelons with the people from Gaza, with the Arab Palestinians. They were the truck drivers. They were people we got along with. I can't describe how heartbroken I am.’’

Burkan worries that the world does not have as long a memory as he does. ‘’No one's talking about where the hostages are. The world is forgetting.’’

Burkan shares his guess as to why the issue has been sidelined, at least in his own country of the USA. ‘’When someone's trying to win an election, and you're worried that if you don't win Michigan you're going to lose the whole thing, you're trying to do things to appease a part of the Democratic base.’’

Some of the world, though, still remembers. ‘’There is tremendous support for Israel - Republicans, Democrats, Jews. We brought four Christians on this trip who've never been to Israel. The biggest thrill of my life is bringing people on this mission. The Israeli people are so strong, and the energy they give is so inspiring. I know that America loves Israel. America and Israel are optimistic countries, and most Americans have Israel's back.’’

As a former member of the board of the US Holocaust Museum, he gave his opinion on the controversy surrounding the frequent comparisons between the October 7th massacre and the Holocaust. ‘’This was the Holocaust. The Germans tried to hide the Holocaust, and German soldiers who perpetuated evil things were not proud of it. On October 7th, they were very proud of what they did. These people truly enjoyed doing horrible things. I also think it's different - you have Israel, you have an army, you can fight back, and I think the world does support Israel. They don't want another Holocaust. There are definitely similarities in the brutality and the violence, and Hamas has said they want to exterminate the Jews. Miriam Adelson once said ‘’If someone says that they’ll try to kill you, you had better believe them.’’ Israel did not believe.’’

Burkan concluded by describing one of the goals of his mission to Israel. ‘’We’re going to go to Hadassah Hospital and meet the wounded to find out ways we can support them and their families. In America, when a police officer in New York gets injured, people find out how they can support their family. We want to find out how we can help them or their families, and offer any emotional support we can. We're all one family, and that's why we all came to Israel.’’