Wednesday, March 29, 2023

I have been so moved by the events over the last two weeks in Israel. I have been, for some reason, more affected by this than I have been by the infinite number of horrific trage­dies experienced in Israel prior to this. Maybe it’s because the targets here were children, and as a father I can’t bear the thought of losing my own child in such a way. Maybe it’s because these boys were religious and were on their way home from yeshiva for Shabbos and I can relate to what that means.

Maybe I’m so much more upset because no one else seems to be. True, my friends in our local religious community seem to be equally affected, but the rest of the world has been si­lent—the UN is silent, Arab states say and do nothing, cheering occurs in Gaza and the West Bank, and our President and State department have been callously silent. Even the Presbyteri­ans have turned on us.

Maybe I’m so upset because there are people out there who still feel this can all be talked out. We just need to sit down and hash it out again. And then I have to ex­plain it, again. Israel has no honest partner with which to deal.

Palestinian public opinion overwhelming­ly supports terror. Their government pays ter­rorists for killing Jews. The mother of one of the terrorists involved here was interviewed and is proud of her son. After the kidnapping, the Palestinians responded not by showing contri­tion, but rather by shelling Israel with rockets and trying to kidnap another woman. These people actually DO hate us and want us dead. And yes, I include me in that. As a Jew, I’m as much of a target as any Israeli.

It is hard for young, impressionable, lib­eral-minded, kind-hearted people to under­stand this. First, their knowledge of both current and remote Middle Eastern history is so poor and biased. Secondly, the major media outlets are unfairly biased against Is­rael; they do a very poor job of truth telling.

Evil truly exists in the world, and it bears, among other things, the face of Pal­estine. It’s ok to point out that truth, even if it doesn’t feel good to do so. How else can you explain a civilization that promotes the kidnapping and murder of children? Where are the dissenting voices? Where is the Shalom Achshav (Peace Now) party in Gaza? Where are the Arabs and Muslims, even in America, condemning this?

These boys were not soldiers. They were in­nocent. They were catching a bus home from school—they were doing nothing more pro­vocative other than living as Jews. And they weren’t unintended casualties either. They were the target. This is not a random crime by two random individuals—this is the new para­digm of the Intifada. Killing children has always been the modus operandi of Hamas and the PLO. And now by overwhelming support, it is Hamas and the PLO that govern the Palestini­ans—why?

So what can I conclude here? Their civi­lization is not like ours. It’s not racist or xen­ophobic to say this. They too would agree. Their raison d’être is not a pursuit of their own freedom, like it is ours. It is the pursuit of my and our death and destruction. They don’t share our values of jurisprudence, or diversity. They are zealots that believe that my very existence as a Jew alive in the world is an affront to their religion, and the only solution is my death. Maybe this is why I’m mad. This has finally dawned on me.

This is not now, nor has it ever been, a quarrel over land. It has always been about fundamentalist Islam’s hatred of Jewry. No amount of negotiations can reach such a people. If they saw you standing at a bus stop south of Jerusalem, you can bet they’d kidnap and kill you too, even if you did try to be the nice person you probably are. I haven’t always been a hawk....I’ve been a dove my whole life, but my brain can’t ig­nore facts anymore to make my heart feel better. Having children probably changed me. It is a sad state of affairs. I wish it wasn’t so. But it is so.

We are in this together, one with Hashem, goodness and righteousness. Theirs is the side of Haman, Amalek and Hitler. We must protect ourselves and our children and stop negotiat­ing with people who would gladly give their own life to kill Jews. The world has never and will never support us. We need to support our­selves. Talking, bargaining and negotiation has never, and will never, give us peace. The only way for this to stop, is for us to make it stop.

As a doctor, I’ve pledged my life to help and serve others. I do that. I’ve operated on people who have swastikas and have open­ly said terrible things to me. I carry on, be­cause it’s Hashem’s will that I do so. But I am struggling so hard right now. Hatred is a terrible emotion. So is bigotry. I know how it feels to be on the receiving end. But I can’t just ignore what is going on. I’m 40 years old and don’t have to prove myself anymore. I have no popularity contest to win, and I’ll never run for public office. I’m just so saddened and so angered right now, and typing this for two hours in the middle of the night somehow makes me feel a bit better. I couldn’t be more proud to be a Yid. I feel such a huge sense of loss for my three children that are now gone.

Dr. Benjamin Rogoway, who has cousins in Teaneck, is a trauma surgeon in Vancouver, Washington. He is a member of the orthodox Jewish community in Port­land, Oregon.

By Dr. Benjamin Rogoway

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