Words of sechel

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Friends,

I have been beyond outraged, as I’m sure many of you have been, at the world’s response to the unspeakable massacre in Israel. My personal outrage has been amplifiead greatly by the necessity for Israel to have to release convicted terrorists back into society to redeem kidnapped women and children. This is something which would have been totally unnecessary if the “civilized, democratic world” would have banded together and collectively warned Hamas that they have a clear ultimatum: Either release all hostages unconditionally or the entire free world is joining forces with Israel to wipe them off the face of the earth. All hostages would have been free, long ago…

Since Rabbi Moshe Hauer, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, expressed my sentiments so eloquently and succinctly, I am honored to present to you his well-penned words with the hope that the spreading of words of sechel (common sense) will supplant the insanity which surrounds us today.

We support and we hold responsible
Rabbi Moshe Hauer | Nov. 21, 2023

Today, the government of Israel made one of the most morally and strategically complex and difficult decisions any group of elected officials can confront, making painful concessions to free hostages from the hands of their evil captors.

We support their decision. This support is consistent with the Orthodox Union’s longstanding policy to support the Israeli government’s positions on national security issues. We recognize and respect that this decision is based upon the primacy that the government of Israel, the people of Israel and the Torah of Israel place upon the infinite value of human life, a value that our enemies have not begun to embrace.

But even as we support the decision of the government of Israel, we and all civilized people must hold responsible the many who made this terribly difficult decision necessary. We hold responsible the Qataris whose ongoing hosting and support of the Hamas terrorists enabled them to massacre, rape, behead and kidnap hundreds of innocents. The Qataris are part of the problem and not part of the solution.

We hold responsible the United Nations who have yet to find within themselves to unequivocally condemn the brutal massacre of Oct. 7, offering instead lame and ignorant presentations of context to excuse the inexcusable. The UN was created to prevent another Holocaust and has chosen instead to be its greatest promoter.

We hold responsible the politicians and NGOs who choose to focus their concern for humanitarian behavior on the world’s most humane army as it fights a war it did not start and never wanted, instead of shining the spotlight of moral and compassionate scrutiny consistently and completely on the brutal and monstrous murderers and kidnappers of Hamas.

We hold responsible the so-called progressives who will stand up for any victim if he is not a Jew, who will prosecute rapists as long as their victims are not Israelis, who forget the friendship and allyship of the Jewish community that has stood by their side in their every struggle and who now oppose the Jewish people’s right to defend themselves.

We hold responsible the leadership of universities who have allowed their sacred spaces of learning to become places where Jews live in fear and where there is no room on their walls and bulletin boards to display compassion for the plight of hostages taken and held in unambiguous and undebatable violation of every law of war.

We hold responsible the biased media who fan the flames of hatred and antisemitism by their hopelessly imbalanced reporting, briefly telling the story of the hostages before turning their focus to the tragic plight of a population that — while certainly including thousands of innocents — is dominated by a majority whose values reflect those of Hamas in poll after poll, who elected the terrorist government it deserves, celebrated the massacre of Israelis, seeks one Judenrein state from the river to the sea, whose so-called moderate leaders continue to play to slay and who educate their children that Jews have no place on this earth.

We support the Israeli government in its painful decision, taken with the knowledge that the Oct. 7 massacre was planned and executed by Yahya Sinwar, yemach shemo vezichro, a beast who was freed from an Israeli jail in a previous prisoner swap.

We support the Israeli government and urge them to not let this pause in the fire provide an opportunity for Hamas to reorganize and rearm.

We support the Israeli government in this painful decision and we hold the world responsible for their complicity in their having to make it. You have failed those men, women and children held captive and you must not allow this travesty to continue. You must not rest until each and every hostage from this conflict and from previous conflicts are returned home. You must support the Israeli army as it finishes the job of completely and totally destroying Hamas and does what is needed to ensure that the next plan for Gaza will not allow that territory to again breed the evil that the withdrawal of 2005 did.

We pray to G-d with all our heart that each and every one of the hostages return home safely, that they and their families find healing and that they find their place in a welcoming world that has learned from its terrible mistakes and misjudgments and embraces a genuine love of both truth and peace, where Jews may live without fear.

Rabbi Yerachmiel Fried is dean of DATA–Dallas Area Torah Association.

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