A nation in trauma

Even a month-and-a-half after “Black Sabbath,” as we call October 7th, the nation of Israel is still in trauma.

By Dov Eilon | | Topics: Gaza, Hamas
Relatives of Israelis kidnapped by Hamas terrorists to the Gaza Strip visit the family of Noa Marciano in Modiin. Noa was murdered while in captivity. Photo: Jonathan Shaul/Flash90
Relatives of Israelis kidnapped by Hamas terrorists to the Gaza Strip visit the family of Noa Marciano in Modiin. Noa was murdered while in captivity. Photo: Jonathan Shaul/Flash90

For more than six weeks, our lives have not been the same as they were before October 7th. It’s as if we had suddenly been catapulted into a parallel world, a world with the same people but with a completely different reality. It is a bitter and sad reality that we must now come to terms with, in which at least 1,200 people have been murdered in the most brutal way by Hamas terrorists. And 238 people were abducted by these beasts to the Gaza Strip, including small children, babies and the elderly. We now live in a world where every day we hear of more Israeli soldiers killed while fighting Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Unfortunately, we are not in a parallel world, but in our world. There is no turning back, this is our new reality.

It’s difficult for me to describe to you our feelings and impressions. I’ll try anyway. Hopefully I will be able to convey to you at least a small part of how we feel, my feelings, my impressions and thoughts that have accompanied me since October 7th.

I will never forget these images. The destruction in Kibbutz Be’eri. Photo: Erik Marmor/Flash90

Since that day, there hasn’t been a morning that I don’t wake up with thoughts of those taken from us. I constantly have the horrific images of October 7th in my head. I watched all the videos of these atrocities I could find. It was important to me to see the truth, to know exactly what happened on that terrible day. To this day I can’t understand how this could have happened. And I can’t understand how people were capable of committing these atrocities. The images of horror and destruction accompany me constantly. I have cried a lot these last six weeks. And not just me, the whole country is crying and in trauma.

Since the catastrophe and the beginning of the war, our local television news has focused on nothing else. In addition to the reports of fallen soldiers, there are always new heroic stories. Stories about people who managed to survive the inferno in incredible ways. And stories about people who risked their own lives to save as many as possible. We’ve carried a few of these stories here on our site, but there are so many more. And many of them are heartbreaking.

Yesterday I saw a report about Menachem Clemenzon, who, together with his brother Elhanan, rescued more than 100 people from Kibbutz Be’eri, which was destroyed by the terrorists. His brother was shot dead by a terrorist during the last mission. At the end, the rescuer met some of the people he had saved, a very emotional event.

Menachem, one of many heroes.

There is hardly anyone in our country who is not affected in some way by these events. A neighbor of our son in Tel Aviv was murdered by the terrorists at the Nova music festival. The little brother of one of our daughter’s childhood friends also didn’t return from the party. One of our daughter’s work colleagues was also murdered at this overnight concert. Even though our daughter didn’t know her well, it was still difficult to process. Not to mention the death of her friend’s brother.

A few days ago, a colleague from the Israel Today editorial team received a text message from her son’s second grade teacher. It was about the father of another student. Like so many others, he was called up to reserve duty to fight against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip. He died in battle.

Yakir Biton. Photo: IDF

Yakir Biton was just 34-years-old. He was torn from his life and had to leave behind a wife and three children, who now have to get along without him. Simply tragic. Can you imagine your child’s class teacher sending a text message like that?

Yakir is one of 390 soldiers who have died since the war began on October 7th. Just this morning the names of two more fallen soldiers were released. Behind every fallen man there is an entire family for whom an entire world has collapsed. My hometown of Modiin has already lost 17 soldiers. For those unaffected it is a short message, for the relatives it is the end of the world they know. I admire the way they deal with and cope with the loss of their loved ones. Life goes on, it must go on.

This morning my youngest son told me that a good friend of his is now in the Gaza Strip. He is a combat soldier. His family is probably very worried. But unfortunately that is the reality of many families. We have to stay strong. Another friend came home for a few days; he was on duty at the northern border. Tomorrow he too has to go south. I’ve known him since elementary school.

Israeli reserve soldiers near the Israel-Gaza Strip border in southern Israel on November 13, 2023. Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

We were drawn into this war by Hamas, and we must not and will not forget that. Believe me, none of us want war. But we all understand that we have no other choice at the moment. No Israeli is willing to live next door to the Hamas monsters.

As I write these lines to you, the television is constantly on. It’s been like this for six weeks. I could describe much more for you. There is the still almost daily rocket attacks on the center of the country, with the hum of interceptor missiles and the noise of fighter jets on their way to another mission against the terrorists. And yes, I know that these attacks also result in civilian casualties in Gaza. Unfortunately, there are no wars without innocent victims. Every death of an innocent person is tragic. But we didn’t start this war. The ceasefire now called for already existed on October 6th. Until it was broken by Hamas.

That’s it for today. I’ll get angry about UN Secretary-General António Guterres another time. Yesterday the 40-minute film of Hamas’s atrocities was shown at the UN headquarters in New York; Guterres did not consider it necessary to be present, despite the invitation of the Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan. But like I said, I’ll address that another time.

I hope I have succeeded in describing my impressions and thoughts. I would be happy to read your comments here under the article. How do you feel about this season of war? Is this something you talk about?

Images of people taken hostage by Hamas terrorists on chairs at the Pais Arena in Jerusalem on November 15, 2023. Photo: Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90

I hope that we can embrace the 238 people kidnapped in Gaza as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the world seems to care less. We miss our normal and boring everyday life. Shalom!

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3 responses to “A nation in trauma”

  1. Lennie Joensen says:

    I understand your emotions. But me being in Denmark and following the gruesome ordeal on YouTube, etc, is of course another matter. You live under rockets and constant alarms; you have gruesome, vile neighbors, indeed!
    I’m Danish and Christian, probably with Jewish ancestors centuries ago, but I feel more connected to Israel and the Jews than to my own Danish tribe. . Was raised to care for Israel, and I have done some pro-Israel work.
    You ask us to describe our feelings. I have felt as if my heart was literally broken! For some weeks after October 7, I felt ill. I had weird dreams. I kept praying for the IDF and hostages, in particular the little fella from that horrific video for kibbutz Be’eri, where he sits on the floor with his parents and one sister, while the 18 yr old sister lay dead in the bunker room. . . To be cont.

  2. Lennie Joensen says:

    I saw that video on yt almost on the same day it happened, I think. I prayed so much for them, I thought they had been taken to Gaza. That little boy remind me of my little brother, when he was a kid. I started dreaming of entering their house with a machine gun and freeing them all! How I hate the devils that did these things to innocent kids and babies, and adults!
    Then I heard a couple of weeks ago, or more, that ‘only’ the father had been taken hostage, and the little boy was running around and his mother gave an interview. They buried the 18 yr old daughter. Difficult to watch.
    Are they alive, the hostages? Some of them? I don’t know, but I don’t understand that Israel does not eradicate many more buildings and ‘Palestinians’? There is something demonic to these people; the land of Gaza, I believe, is cursed.
    I read Zephaniah ch 2 and I think that this time has come. . .

  3. Vernon Ryan says:

    As a young man I was on my way to war at the same time the six day war broke out in Israel. I am well aware of the feelings and fears of the Jewish people today. I pray for you and for peace in Jerusalem.
    I am well aware of the scripture speaking of these times we live in today, even the Psalms speak of peoples thoughts and fears of today. He tells us many times to, “fear not, for He is with us.” All He asks is for us to believe Him. His loving kindness and tender mercies are there for us, simply, believe.
    I see the times we are living is as the “beginning of sorrows,” the Lord talked of them in Matthew and Mark, they can also be seen as the final times of the one major player coming against Israel. The end of this little war will happen with a huge battle and those who survive it on the enemies side will go back to their homes and start a change in the ME that will see the former enemies of Israel worshiping the God of Israel.

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