RabbI YY Jacobson
RabbI YY JacobsonYad Lachim

Q: Rabbi YY Jacobson, I am having trouble explaining Israel’s actions in Gaza to my friends and family even after the barbaric massacre on October 7th. They are accusing me of whitewashing ethnic cleansing and wanton murder nnd claim Israeli actions brought it on themselves. Can you answer some of the questions posed?

A: Absolutely. I wish every one of us would familiarize ourselves with the facts, not the myths, so we can each become an ambassador for truth and peace.

Q: Why can’t Israel show restraint, and not bomb Gaza? Especially when they have the Iron Dome to intercept most rockets?

Imagine you were sitting in your home with your children, and someone would begin shooting bullets into your home, killing one of your children, wounding another one, and murdering an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor. Do you think the correct thing is to show restraint and allow all your children to die? Or should you stop the killers?

Hamas sent more than 3000 rockets raining down on Israeli cities, with the singular intention of murdering as many Jews as possible. Should Israel just say: Send some more; we are fine if Jews die; or should Israel try to crush the terrorists?

If not for the Iron Dome, Israel would have been reduced to rubble, and thousands would have been killed. Even with the Iron Dome, there are gruesome casualties and millions of Israelis are living in dread. When a siren goes off in the middle of the night, they have ten seconds to rush all the children into a shelter. Should Israel just accept this?

Q: Instead of firing back at Hamas, why does Israel not concede to Hamas’ demands so they would stop firing rockets?

A: Hamas openly calls and aims for the death of every Jew in Israel, as clearly stated in their charter (which you can read online). Should Israel concede to this demand? Should we murder every Jew in Israel and then there will be no more rockets?

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are genocidal terrorist organizations that want to wipe Israel, a country the size of New Jersey with 6.6 million Jewish residents, off the map. Last week a senior Hamas official sent out a video clip asking Palestinians to go out and buy five-shekel knives to chop off Jewish heads.

Q: Why do you say it is about genocide? Maybe it is just about occupation? Israel is occupying Gaza and has created a blockade around it, so in desperation, the Gazans need to shoot rockets to fight the injustice?

A: I believe Hamas. They state clearly in their charter and all their message that the goal here is the eradication of the Jewish people. That is the core obstacle to peace.

If someone just hates Jews and Israel with no rationale, there is little to be said in defense of truth. But if someone is looking for some truth, here it is:

In August of 2005, Israel expelled ten thousand Jews from their homes in Gaza, their communities demolished by the Israel Defense Forces. Not a single Jew or Israeli soldier was left in Gaza. Israel gave its Arab neighbors the opportunity to create an independent Palestinian State in Gaza with a flourishing society, the “Singapore of the Middle East.” For example, it left hothouses purchased for millions that had exported flowers to Europe, but the Palestinian Arabs dettroyed them deliberately.

Alas, the day following the forced Jewish expulsion, rockets came pouring down on Israeli cities, targeting civilians in homes and in the streets. Instead of waking up to the deadly consequences of the Gaza withdrawal and re-entering Gaza, Israel showed restraint. The results? Hamas built a terror state. Since then, tens of thousands of rockets were sent from Gaza to murder as many civilian Jews as possible.

The blockade Israel created is not to block any essentials, but only to stop weaponry from being smuggled into Gaza to be used against Jews in Israel. Had Gaza been a neighbor to Israel like Canada is to the US, Israel would not even look at what goes into Gaza. But when you have a neighbor who wants all your children to die, should you not inspect what goes into his country? The blockade is not the reason for the rockets; the rockets are the reason for the blockade.

Besides, Israel allows more than enough food, goods and services to enter Gaza, it just checks and inspects contents.

There are beautiful and wealthy neighborhoods, beaches and shopping areas in Gaza, luxurious villas owned by terrorist leaders. Gaza's rulers do not publicize that because that highlights the fact that it is the upper class of Palestinian Arabs that ignores the masses living in poverty. Read more about the rich-poor gap in Gaza here..

Q: Why not just withdraw to the pre-1967 lines, create a Palestinian State, and all will be fine?

A: Israel did just that with Gaza! Gaza was the first Palestinian State, created back in 2005, and it became a center of terror. It became instantly clear that the demand for a Palestinian State was not to live side by side with Israel but to replace Israel. One can only shudder to think what would happen if a Palestinian State would be created in the heart of Israeli society? Do you think Israel should commit national suicide?

Following the Oslo Accords, when Israel gave autonomy to Palestinians in the so-called 'West Bank', Israel saw the worst terror attacks against its citizens. Conceding territory, sadly, is an invitation for war, not peace.

Q: How can Israel justify killing civilians if their intent is to destroy Hamas?

A: The death of every innocent human being is horrific. But what is the reason for all these tragic casualties? Because Hamas places its fighters among the civilian population and launches its rockets from schools, hospitals, and homes. The Palestinian people are being held hostage by Hamas. A civilian who is killed while being used by a terrorist as a human shield is a victim of the terrorist, not the Israeli army, who does not target innocent civilians.

Why does Hamas do this? Because it knows that the world will blame Israel instead of Hamas. Hamas knows that so many in the West will buy into their sadistic and cynical tactic of making sure that as many children as possible are killed in Gaza. Israel does everything to minimize casualties, not only of its own people but of Gazans. Hamas does everything to increase casualties, not only of Israelis but of its own children—and the world lets them get away with it.

If Hamas would not be shooting rockets into Israel would even one child in Gaza die? Never. So why are we blaming Israel for deaths caused by Hamas?

Many German civilians died during World War Two. Who do we blame for their deaths? Hitler or Churchill? What Nazi Germany was to England, Hamas is to Israel. Literally.

Q: But Israel is shooting rockets into Gaza and killing these innocent people?

A: If someone declared a war on your country, and it is waging the war from amidst its civilian population, do you try to defeat your enemy or do you just allow your people to die?

Still, there has never been an army in the history of warfare that had tried so hard to minimize civilization casualties the way Israel does. Sadly, they are not always successful due to the deliberate and criminal aim of Hamas to ensure the greatest possible deaths of their own children for which they can blame Israel.

Consider the following fact. Before bombing a residential building used to launch rockets against Israel, the Israeli military phones the residents warning them to leave, even though that gives ample time for the terrorists to flee as well. Does anyone even expect Hamas to phone Israeli residents before sending a rocket to their homes? What does this tell you about the difference between Hamas and Israel? One is trying to murder as many innocent people as possible; the other is trying to protect as many innocent people as possible.

If you really care about the safety and future of Palestinian children, you should embrace Israel and combat Hamas. If only Hamas would love their own children a little more than they hate Israeli children, there would be peace.

Q: Many more deaths have been reported from Gaza than from Israel. Clearly, Israel is the more dangerous aggressor.

A: During the Second World War, there were millions of more civilian deaths in Germany than in Britain. Does this make England wrong, and Nazi Germany right?

Q: Still, isn't Israel's response disproportionate? Can’t they show more restraint?

A: What would be your reaction if in 1945 politicians would urge the US and England to show restraint? Hitler began a war, and the Allies were trying to end it, by defeating the enemy. Hamas declared war against Israel, and Israel is trying to end it. When you are trying to end a war, you try to end it as swiftly as you can. Remember, if Hamas would not shoot rockets, this war would have never begun.

(To understand the definition of proortionality in international law, which means something entirely different than its common definition, read highlighted portions in this article.)

Q: Israel has the Iron Dome to protect it from Hamas rockets, while the Gazans are left without protection from the Israeli rockets?

A: The people of Gaza have something far more effective than an Iron Dome: a neighbor who would never shoot even a single rocket at them. If Hamas ceases to terrorize Israel, all of Gaza will be safe. Sadly, it is only Israel that needs an Iron Dome because Hamas seeks to destroy it.

Q: Doesn't Israel understand that they are creating more terrorists? The fury at Israel as a result of bombing Gaza will make more people want to join Hamas.

A: Feelings of frustration and rage do not make you into a terrorist. A culture of death and education of hate does. Israel doesn't need to do anything to create terrorists—Islamic extremism does that, but Israel must act to destroy those who threaten its people.

Q: Israel, because of its power, must be kept to a higher standard. Even if Hamas is using violence, Israel must not.

A: If a woman is being attacked by a thug who wants to violate her, and she punches the attacker in the face, is she to be lauded or humiliated? If Israel would do nothing and allow its children to die, would it be compassionate or cruel?

If Hamas would get rid of all its weapons, would anyone be afraid that Israel will kill Gazans? How about if Israel dismantles its military, would anyone think that Israel would survive for even a day?

Q: Many people maintain that Israel has done many things over the years to undermine peace?

A: Israel is far from a perfect country and has made its share of mistakes. Yet every single war in modern history has been between a Free State and a Police State, or between two Police States. Hamas is a police state—if you differ with them, they kill you. Israel, with all its flaws, is a free democracy. Where in the world, other than when it comes to Israel, does anyone argue that the Free State does not want peace and the Police State wants peace?

Of the 193 countries members of the UN, there is only one country targeted for extinction. Yet, this country is the one responsible for war?!

Q: If all the above is true, why is there such a double standard when it comes to Israel?

A: Somehow the Jewish people still trigger profound sentiments, in one direction or another. Since the day Abraham began his journey, the world has been anything but indifferent to the Jew. Some people love Jews, others don’t, but nobody can ignore them. Despite not numbering even one-quarter of one percent of humanity, the world is obsessed with Israel. Do you need better proof that our role in history is as vibrant as ever? That we are Divine ambassadors to fill the world with truth, justice, and love, and the world is longing to hear our voice.

We must not duck in fear and insecurity. We must speak the truth and fight every expression of evil and hatred. The world respects Jews who respect Judaism and respect their history, heritage, and faith. The world will respect Israel when Israel respects Israel and will stop appeasing terrorists and their supporters.

May G-d bless Israel. May G-d bless our soldiers. May G-d protect every Jew living in Israel, and may He protect all innocent civilians, Arabs, and Jews. May G-d give our leaders the wisdom and courage to do what they need to do to protect our people and our homeland.

First posted on yeshiva.net.