Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Israel and the former international spokesperson for the IDF, spoke with Arutz Sheva - Israel National News about the public relations effort surrounding the war in Gaza.
“We are fighting a media war as well as a war in Gaza. No war is pretty. Israel must tell the truth about what happened to the hostages that we have been able to recover alive. I know that it is difficult, and I know the trauma that these hostages went through, but it is important that the world look in their eyes and understand that Hamas is ISIS,” she said.
“Israel has testimonies on every single atrocity committed by Hamas. Those who want to listen and believe can do so, and those who do not want to believe we should not waste time on.”
Leibovich said that the continued support of the United States of America is of great importance to Israel: “Israel’s greatest strategic partner is the United States of America. There have been significant shipments of ammunition from the US, there are two aircraft carriers here, President Joe Biden visited Israel, and Congress passed a unanimous resolution calling for the return of the hostages. This is deeply valued by the Israeli people.”
She noted that AJC has focused its efforts on a different partner - Europe: “We have brought four delegations in the past months to see where the atrocities were committed, on the outskirts of the Gaza Strip, and to speak with the families of the hostages. These experiences will be repeated in parliaments all over Europe. We can't bring everyone here, but we can ensure that voices over there are heard loud and clear.”
“We are seeing protests, sometimes pro-Hamas protests, all over Europe. Europe is trying to balance freedom of speech against what to do when that freedom serves a terrorist group like Hamas. Israel can be an asset to Europe here, because we dealt with this problem years ago.”
Regarding the physical war, Leibovich said: “It is a slow, delicate, but thorough process. Every tunnel, warehouse, and weapons factory must be destroyed.”
“There is also a low-key war in the north. Hezbollah, prompted by Iran, has fired more than 1,000 rockets into Israel. 60,000 residents of Israel's north have had to be evacuated. Israel has returned fire, killing more than 100 Hezbollah terrorists. All of this, though, is just a side effect of the main arena against Hamas.”