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The Jewish Report Editorial

Lest we forget

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“Don’t take me, I’m too young!” This desperate plea keeps playing in my head. I went cold on hearing the mother of two children, aged 12 and 16, speaking about being on the phone with her children when she heard them being abducted and her younger son shouting those words. How do you survive, knowing that your children are in the hands of sadistic terrorists in Gaza? And that you can do nothing to help them?

Her children are just two of at least 199 people, mostly little children, young women, and the elderly, who were dragged across the Israeli border to Gaza on Saturday 7 October.

“Children aren’t supposed to be part of the war game,” this frightened mother said. “Children aren’t playing cards. Bring them home now.”

She said she was afraid that the hostages would “fall off the agenda slowly, but surely”, and she pleaded with the world to make sure that this didn’t happen.

I’m a mother, and I cannot imagine the anguish this woman is experiencing. I cannot imagine the excruciating emotional and psychological pain of every mother, father, sister, brother, and grandparent, who is waiting for word of family members taken last Saturday.

For this reason, we have put the faces of the people who have been abducted by Hamas terrorists and held hostage in Gaza on our front page. Lest we forget …

We cannot bring back to life the 1 400 people who the terrorists butchered last weekend. We can mourn them, and we can keep their memories alive, but we can’t bring them back.

The 3 500 wounded in Israel are top priority for the country’s medical fraternity, and hopefully as many as possible will survive and resume their lives.

But the lives of those held captive in Gaza are on hold. We don’t know the conditions in which they are being held. We don’t know if they are being fed or given water. We don’t know how they are being treated. But we do know what their despicable captors are capable of – they made sure we got to witness that on 7 October.

The faces on our front page are haunting because each one belongs to a beautiful human being, someone who did nothing to deserve what they are experiencing right now. They are innocent people who were going about their early morning lives on Shabbat and Simchat Torah when they were forcibly driven into hell.

The Israeli government and army have promised to do everything in their power to get them back because to Israel, every life matters.

It was so poignant to hear that same mother whose two children are being held hostage talking about how she had always felt for Palestinian children and told her own kids that they needed to be grateful because they had more than the children in Gaza. She also said that when she heard about soldiers killing 14-year-old terrorists, she was heartbroken because, she said, “they are someone’s child”.

Another Israeli man this week told us how he, his wife, and daughter, had been taken hostage. En route to Gaza, they had an opportunity to escape and took it. His wife was holding the baby but was slower than him, so she told him to take the child and run and she would follow. He and the baby escaped, but she was caught and is now one of the hostages.

These human tragedies abound. You can only imagine with so many brutally murdered, raped, burnt alive, beheaded, and so many abducted.

To date, the SA Jewish Report has focused on stories that are connected to South Africa, but I believe that the more experiences we bring to all our readers, the more you can understand the depth of depravity of these terrorists. You can also understand why Israel is so determined to root out Hamas and make sure these terrorists are never able to do this or anything else to Israelis or anyone else again.

And it won’t be an easy war. You just have to look at how last night, a Palestinian Jihad missile aiming for Israel misfired and hit a hospital in Gaza and within minutes, the world was accepting the terrorists’ version that Israel was to blame. However, Israel had nothing to do with it, or the many lives that may have been lost in the blast. But for some strange reason, much of the media around the world is quick to believe the terrorists and not necessarily Israel. Israel is forced to prove its innocence.

Moving to South Africa, the bias is far worse. It almost feels as if we’re living on another planet, in which the general media seems to choose what it wants to portray about what happened in Israel. In fact, many have glossed over the massacre, the thousands wounded, and there’s no mention of the hostages at all. For the most part, the focus is on how savage Israel is being against innocent Palestinians.

South Africa’s minister of international relations and cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, however, has crossed a line that I don’t believe she can return from. In the aftermath of the massacre, she had a supportive conversation with a Hamas leader. Pandor, supporting Hamas is support for terrorism. Supporting Hamas is support for the wholesale slaughter of our people! What kind of person does this? How can such a person hold a position of power?

It was no surprise that afterwards, in a Radio 702 interview, Pandor concocted a scenario in which Israel was supposedly attacking humanitarian aid trucks and claimed Israel was preventing aid to Gazans.

For the record, Israel is the only country in the Middle East that follows humanitarian rules of war and is working closely with aid workers in Gaza. It has called on all Gazans to move south as the Israel Defense Forces are going to root out Hamas in Gaza City. Can you imagine if Hamas had considered doing that before it attacked Israelis on Saturday morning? It wouldn’t happen, but that doesn’t stop the minister cosying up to Hamas.

As for our president in his keffiyeh, he also ignored what happened in Israel for more than a week, rubbing our noses in our devastation. Not until after the South African Jewish Board of Deputies pleaded with him, did the African National Congress national executive committee come out and condemn the brutal killings by Hamas.

And as Israel comes out in retaliation against Hamas and more people die, those who have supported the Jewish state may not necessarily continue to stand by us.

But the truth is, as long as Hamas and other terrorist organisations are around, nobody is safe. Terrorists don’t care about anyone but their cause, and that could be in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Chile, or wherever. Until Israel stops Hamas in its track, ordinary Palestinians will never be safe. Would that our government realise this about its friends!

Shabbat Shalom!

Peta Krost

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