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October 8 May Be the Most Important Day In 2,000 Years of Jewish History

The Jews of Odessa, Warsaw, Kishnive, Kiev, Bialystok, Tripoli, Aleppo and countless other Jewish communities over the last 2,000 years never had an October 8.

As the 150-day anniversary of October 7 approaches, it is impossible to forget the devastation of that day and the ongoing plight of the hostages kidnapped that day. With all the pain that day brought, it is perhaps not surprising that little attention has been paid to the historic significance of October 8.

Thanks to Hamas, March of the Living no longer requires a trip to Poland. If you want to see the consequences of unrestrained Jew hatred, a drive of less than 75 miles from Ben Gurion will leave you with full-color, searing images. When you walk the streets of these towns and settlements, only one word comes to mind—pogrom. Pogroms had no strategic goals. A pogrom was designed solely to inflict as much death, destruction and humiliation on its hated victims as possible.

Sadly, as Jews we have a vast experience with pogroms and similar acts of violence under other names. However, except where the local Jewish population was immediately wiped out, the one constant in every pogrom was that the second day of the pogrom was worse than the first. The violence of Day 1 and the lack of consequences for the violence, only whet the appetite of the mob for Day 2.

Until … October 8, 2023. On that day, the cycle of history ended. October 8 created the first one-day pogrom in history. Due to the bravery of so many and the existence of the State of Israel, the pogrom did not expand and, with limited exceptions, basically ended. Violence against Jews had consequences. With the painful exception of the hostages, every child in Israel went to bed that night in relative security. Yes, in some cases that required relocation from the border and that brought its own suffering. However, during every other pogrom in history there were no homes, apartments and hotels to flee to, just the hidden spaces of the rare righteous gentile. Again, the existence of Israel changed the course of history.

What we learned on October 7 is that pure hatred of the Jews has not ended and that ensuring “Never Again” does not allow for mistakes on the part of those tasked with its prevention. For members of the IDF and the Israeli security services, the pain of October 7, therefore, is compounded by a feeling of failure to protect Israelis that day. That point came across consistently in meetings with IDF soldiers during my recent trip to Israel. As a deputy F-16 squadron commander bluntly stated at the end of his presentation to our group, “On October 7 we failed, that is the reality we have to live with.”

There will certainly be a painful post-war reckoning with the events of October 7. Hopefully many painful lessons will be learned. However, we cannot allow the pain of October 7 to obscure the historic achievement of October 8.

I shared this point with multiple soldiers I met on my trip to Israel. I pointed to them and highlighted that with the support of the Almighty, they and the IDF were the reason for the first one-day pogrom in Jewish history. Without exception the soldiers looked down and shifted uncomfortably, but when they looked up, many had tears in their eyes. One soldier flat-out said, “I have to give you a hug; I never thought of it that way.”

October 8 served as a reminder of the criticality of Israel to the Jewish present and future. We pray for the safety and success of the brave soldiers of the IDF as they seek to ensure the security of Israel and the Jewish people.


Dror Futter lives in Teaneck. He is a partner at the Rimon PC law firm where he advises startups and technology companies.

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