We can have a long discussion about why and how everything went wrong, but we’ll do that later. First the war must be won. For this purpose, over 400,000 sons and daughters of Israel were called into reserve service in the past two days. Israel is facing a war and it will only begin in the next few days. This will shake Hamas and the Middle East. And where in the Bible do we find a scenario similar to what happened now in the Gaza Strip? And what do we as a people urgently need to learn from this?
“Kidnapping, abusing and slaughtering children, women and the elderly is inhumane. There is no justification for such things. Hamas has become ISIS, and Gazans are not shocked, but rather are celebrating. Animals must be treated appropriately. Israel has imposed a total blockade on Gaza. There will be no electricity, there will be no water. There will be destruction,” in these words the Arabic-speaking Druze general Ghassan Alian conveyed the IDF’s clear message to the Gaza Strip. “You wanted hell, then you will get hell.”
Now there is war and Israel must win it first. What has happened now in the south in the Negev reminds me of a very similar scenario in the Negev when Israel’s worst enemies, the Amalekites, invaded Israel.
David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it, and had taken captive the women and everyone else in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way.
When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. David’s two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God. (1 Samuel 30:1-6)
The people cried out to heaven, just as the people of Israel do in our day. A spiritual collapse in the nation. Families were kidnapped then and now, on Shabbat morning. The people are shocked, but so are our leaders.
After the catastrophe, King David cries out to heaven. His entire family fell into captivity and the men were all slaughtered. And the people of Israel want to kill David because their leader and his army have completely failed. Where was the security? Where were the soldiers? Where was the king? How was it possible to conquer the city of Ziklag, which, like the kibbutzim Beeri, Kefar Azza and other towns, was also in the Negev? The entire failure and lack of security is blamed on David. And what does David do? He repents and strengthens himself in the Lord and the God of Israel. He admits that he and the people have sinned. Even back then, his strategic concept of security and defense was wrong, just as Israel is said to be today. Israel’s concept of security has failed and that’s why everyone is now talking about new rules in war. “The Palestinians want hell, then they get hell.” Former security service chief Yoram Cohen said on television last night that “Hamas are Nazis and as such Israel must mercilessly fight and destroy Hamas.”
In this time of need, David cries out to God, “Shall I pursue them? Will I catch up with them?” God tells him: “Pursue them, for you will certainly catch up with them and you will certainly bring about salvation!” David has gone to war, because there is a time for everything and now it is war! “So David saved all that the Amalekites had taken, and David also saved his two wives. Nothing was missing, neither the little ones nor the great ones, neither the sons nor the daughters, nor any of the spoils that they had taken from them. David brought everything back.”
And it is in this same plight that Israel and its leaders find themselves today. So far I don’t see anyone truly repenting. Nobody appears publicly and directly in front of the camera and explains to the people how Israel’s entire security system failed. The entire system that Israel’s citizens relied on has failed. Nothing worked on Shabbat. There was no security. Where was the army in the first few hours? Where was the Air Force? Where was the security at the borders? Where were our politicians? The people feel cheated. The attack on Israel in the south was just the beginning. Now there will be real war.
Since the Holocaust, never have so many Jews been murdered in a single day as on the last Shabbat, over 1,200 Jews. It’s unbelievable. This military attack will go down as the worst day in Israel’s modern history and among the most terrible in Jewish history. The question now is whether we learn from this, just as King David learned in biblical times and humbled himself before God. This is not easy, but Israel must take a new direction, just like King David.
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