What was will no longer be. Israel is preparing for something big that I can’t get into, but I know what I’m talking about. A terrible rage has broken out among the people. Gaza is being extensively bombed. Many of the bombs carry tags with the names of the murdered Israelis. Young Israelis return from all corners of the world and immediately report for reserve duty. Israel’s national airline EL-AL returns our boys and girls free of charge. Over 150 percent response to the reserve call-up, over 400,000 Israelis are armed for war. A tsunami has broken out among the people, everyone wants to take part in the fight for our homeland. This is one of the reasons why the Israeli army’s mobilization is overstretched and does not have enough equipment for all the reservists called up.
Since Israel Today put out the call online to support the nation at this time, we have been overwhelmed by how many people have answered that call. Since yesterday afternoon, I have been in constant contact with senior officers and friends in the IDF to see where your donations are urgently needed. All the camps are empty; the army did not expect such a mobilization. Thousands of camp beds are missing, which are urgently needed in both the south and north of Israel. The special forces we are in contact with lack tactical helmets and bulletproof vests. A container is on the way and I am in contact with the importer, a friend of my friend, to pay for some of this equipment.
A few hours ago I was told that many soldiers in a certain unit were suffering shock. They had to deal with the bodies of murdered Israelis, of entire families in the kibbutzim, and to neutralize bombs and explosives hidden in the corpses, before the Israeli rescue teams could recover the bodies. They have seen things that they cannot bear. Some of these soldiers walk around like zombies and urgently need help. Here too we are challenged. We will clarify this and much more that I cannot talk about in the next few days, where you and we can help. With your help, Israel will overcome. I feel and see that. I repeat: The war has not yet begun.
In the meantime, we were surprised by two of our sons for a few hours yesterday, and the third is arrived for a few hours later in the day. The funeral of Dekel Swissa (23) also took place yesterday at the Har Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem. Our family was there. It is not an easy time for parents, especially for mothers. They are afraid, and I feel the same fear in my wife Anat, as well as in all the other parents around us, whose sons have all been called up. This is a national pain that will ultimately heal with God’s grace.
In addition to our media work, we are completely occupied with the war and our sons. We work around the clock, the whole team with Dov, Michael, Ryan, Judith and other colleagues to bring you the truth with facts and feelings on the ground. Over 1,300 deaths on the first day are unbelievable and Israel has understood that it is all or nothing. We see the dangers around us and we all know very well that Israel can plunge into a multi-front war. But we have no choice. Plus, our young new digital media team are all in reserve duty, so if something doesn’t work properly, don’t get mad at us. We will do everything we can to keep you updated.
The mood in Jerusalem is depressed. In the morning I sit with colleagues in the café under the editorial office and gasp for air. The streets are empty and the youth are mobilizing for war. As I have said so many times: “There is a time for everything, but now it is war!” The entire system that the people of Israel relied on has collapsed. Nothing worked last Shabbat. No security. Where was the army in the first few hours? Where was the Air Force? Where was the border defense? Where were our politicians? Is Israel on the brink of a multi-front war?
But in the end I’ll just say one thing. We will win the war. For we are lions, the lions of Judah. That’s not my slogan, that’s the slogan of the young soldiers. Am Israel Chai and thank you for standing with us.
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