Trucks, illustration photo
Trucks, illustration photoFlash 90

Ariel Schnabel is U.S. Correspondent, Senior Journalist and writer for the Hebrew language Makor Rishon newspaper. This is a translation of his weekly column in that newspaper.


Ten trucks crossed the Jordan River from west to east last week, entered Israel, and made their way to the Haifa port. These ten trucks made history. For the first time ever, an official commercial overland route was used to drive from the Persian Gulf to Israel.

The journey from the port of Bahrain took a bit more than two days, while reaching the same destination from the port of Dubai to Haifa took about four days – in both cases, much less time than that needed to travel by sea through the Indian Ocean, and costing more or less the same. The long land journey was an Israeli firm's private initiative, but was of course undertaken with the blessing of the countries through which the trucks drove – The Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel.

This project was not meant to take the place of the sea route from Eastern Europe that goes through the Suez Canal. The hold of a cargo ship is larger in volume than that of a cargo truck, and none of those involved in the initiative are interested in stepping on Egypt's toes, a significant part of whose economy rests on income from the canal. But, still, in the midst of a difficult and complex war, a significant cooperative effort and an Israeli-Arab land bridge came into being, one that may have a positive influence on the trade between the far east to Europe if Iranians continue to threaten vessels sailing in the Bab el Mandeb region.


Northern Gaza is a mass of rubble, large swathes of it are flattened. International experts claim that this is the largest wide scale bombing the world has seen in the past few decades. Not a few say that it will be impossible to live there for the next few decades. What was before, will not be.

The same thing is happening at this very moment in the tent camps of central Gaza and Khan Yunis. Sinwar, the tunnel rat, may hang on another few weeks or even months in his tunnel, but even he understands that his story and that of Hamas is over.

Israeli society is paying a steep price in blood, and the loss of every soldier causes us real physical pain. This is the price we are forced to pay to build our lives and flourish here, and we are not paying it in vain. Our country has not waged a full scale war for many years, so it is no wonder that many of us are feeling down, but we must remember that this is a war, not an operation. Close to 800 soldiers fell in the Six Day War, in six days alone. It was a short war, but its cost in lives was high. We are not in the sixties anymore and warfare has changed, but it is still war. Time is needed in order to thoroughly mop up Gaza's revolting dens of terror.

This is a cliché that sounds worn, but there is nothing to do about it: war does not follow the digital rhythm we have become used to living with. In the real war forced upon us on Simchat Torah, we are the winners. The enemy is defeated every time he clashes with our soldiers. He tries to attack us from the rear, exactly as Amalek did in biblical times, but we cannot allow the painful incidents that we suffer affect the real picture: the IDF is making mincemeat out of them and we will continue until we win. And that moment is getting closer.


I also remember what happened in mixed Jewish-Arab cities during the Guardian of the Walls Operation. None of us can forget those violent riots, but it is impossible to ignore the fact that Arab Israelis are, in general, laying low, and are certainly not joining the anti-Semitism festival that we are witness to from over our northern and southern borders.

Look, I am not deluding myself into thinking that they have become great Zionists, I know that most have not. There is definitely an element of fear involved, not just sympathy for the Jewish-Israeli side, but I would like to believe that the vast majority of Israeli Arabs was profoundly shocked by the scenes from October 7, that they want to distance themselves from Hamas' murderous barbarity and hope to continue living in and being a part of Israel.

It is clear that there are extremists, both in Jewish and Arab society. Our responsibility in this regard is to see to it that the Arab Israelis feel secure in the Jewish state, to oppose any prejudiced behavior resulting from the understandable fear felt by all of us, and to do everything we can to preserve the delicate fabric of life we have succeeded in weaving with this 20 percent of the population.

In contrast to Gaza's residents, who will not be returning to their homes soon, if ever, and regarding whom we hope a large number sail from here to whichever nations are willing to accept them, the Israeli Arabs are not going anywhere.


Tal Mitnik: You probably have not heard that name, so I will tell you that this is a young draft refuser who joined the Israel-haters and their cohorts opposing the war in Gaza. Privileged ingrate Tal Mitnik, blind to the situation before his eyes, is a lone voice in Israeli society, a society filled with heroes.

The percentage of reservists who answered the call to serve is unbelievably high, morale is also high, the west is with Israel, the new draftees are young men and women eager to put on uniforms and defend their country – including a new phenomenon of young haredi inductees. Mitnick is an oddball who only makes our wonderful Israeli society seem even more special, this is a society which when the moment of truth arrived, stood strong and steadfast and decided to continue to live.


America, Germany, the UK and the Netherlands, and the western world in general, are on our side. Pay no heed to the prophets of doom whose skills lie in blackening our mood, and are sometimes allowed to take over the media broadcasts. Do not be impressed by those groups of young people marching frenziedly on US campuses or the massive anti-Israel protests in London – most of them are Muslims, many are in the US on student visas , and anyway, the protests have died down.

The West supports Israel, gave her free rein to do the job, and is waiting with baited breath for us to eliminate the new Nazis. True, not everything is perfect, and it would be better if we did not have to allow supplies to enter Gaza, but that's how it is. Israel is navigating the complex situation between needs and limitations fairly well, as it continues on its way to victory.


It is almost three months since the terrible massacre. The Jewish people shook itself free and rose to the situation, fighting back with unprecedented levels of fire. The home front has not been weakened, it has actually become stronger. Life is going on as usual. The loss of each soldier hurts, but we will fulfill their message to us to continue to live as a free people in our land, filled with joy, faith in G-d, the IDF and the desire of the Jewish people to build, advance, and continue to live. Am Yisrael Chai. And don't let anyone try to tell you different.

Translation from Hebrew article by Rochel Sylvetsky.