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8 Lessons from the War in Gaza
Chief Editor's Blog

8 Lessons from the War in Gaza

Points of clarity uncovered by the war.


In addition to the most important discovery during the war – unearthing and destroying dozens of tunnels snaking into Israel to be used for terror attacks and the kidnapping of soldiers and civilians – the war in Gaza revealed some important discoveries. And like the tunnels, we may have known about their existence but not the full extent of the story.

1. The war revealed the Jewish nation's underlying unity. There has never been a time in recent history where the vast majority of Israelis – along with Jews around the globe – came together to fight a just battle that was forced upon us. Tens of thousands of yeshiva students delayed their summer vacation so that the merit of their Torah learning would help protect soldiers. We came together at Israel solidarity rallies (some erupting spontaneously in the New York diamond district, and in an outpouring of love to soldiers. And we united in pain, at the funerals for our 64 fallen soldiers.

2. We showed our determination and courage to fight and risk our lives to defend our country. And with the upsurge of anti-Semitism rattling the streets of Europe and the threat of radical Islam intensifying, all Israeli understood that we are fighting not just for Israel, but for the entire Jewish People.

3. Max Steinberg and Sean Carmeli, two heroic American lone soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their homeland, displayed what it means to live a life for a higher cause when most Jewish American youth have no idea what they would be willing to die for.

4. The war in Gaza unleashed a wave of Jew-hatred that has not been seen since pre-Holocaust days. With cries of "Death to the Jews" being heard in Berlin and Paris, Natan Sharansky said, “I believe we are seeing the beginning of the end of Jewish history in Europe. I see this as a historical moment — as the beginning of the process of distancing Jews from Europe.” It is no longer fear-mongering to say that it is too dangerous for Jews to live in Europe. It is time for them to leave and come to Israel.

5. We witnessed once again the media and segments of the Western world upending truth in its perverse pathology against Israel. , Navi Pallay, the UN Human Rights Council commissioner, blamed Israel for not sharing with Hamas the Iron Dome technology used to protect against Hamas rockets, thus erasing any distinction between victim and aggressor, while calling for an investigation into possible war crimes committed by Israel – not Hamas. Does anyone doubt that "we are a nation that dwells alone"? We cannot fret about world opinion; we are on our own.

6. Even though the war in Gaza ended with a definite loss for Hamas and an ambiguous win for Israel, one thing became clear: Israel cannot tolerate any neighboring Palestinian state that is not completely demilitarized. We took that risk in pulling out of Gaza and now see the result: terror tunnels, thousands of rockets able to reach 80% of Israel and the closure of Ben Gurion airport and a barbaric enemy intent on our destruction even at the cost of its own civilians.

7. We saw firsthand the amazing protective powers of the Iron Dome, and cannot forget to connect all the dots and give thanks to the Almighty for His unceasing protection.

8. The war may seem to be ending, but it is not over. We bought some time, that's all. There is no simple solution to this. We are surrounded by enemies in a part of the world where tyrants are committing genocide. We live in a small island of sanity and ought to feel our vulnerability, not just our strength. And like a mother who prays for her son clearing out tunnels in Gaza, we must pray every day to God to foil our enemies' designs to wipe us out and to shield us from all harm.

August 7, 2014

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Visitor Comments: 37

(24) Jesse, August 10, 2014 4:44 PM

We need more land

God is kind for giving us the current land of Israel but I believe we must go for much more. It is time to develop the Sinai with innovative business initiatives and create a paradise that Jews can live in. A state the size of New Jersey is not enough.

(23) Fred Landau, August 10, 2014 10:06 AM

8. I agree - the war is not over. There is no simple solution, granted. The only solution, if it can be achieved, is through mutual recognition and an agreed-upon resolve. We (Israel, Jews) are strong, but our strength lay not in our military prowess and arrogance, but in our long tradition of Jewish values that has participated in the enlightening of this world we all inhabit. Where we anticipate enemies we will see enemies. We must pray and work for reconciliation not antagonism; for inclusiveness, not exclusiveness; for justice, not hegemony; for peace, not for conflict.

Let me say that I have always been "pro-Israel" just as I had been "pro-American" when I criticized the Vietnam War. But this was (is) not a war of necessity; there were peaceful alternatives that would, maybe, have achieved what this invasion will not achieve - some kind of resolution with the Palestinian governing body. This latter must happen or else Israel will be forever on a war-footing, hair-triggering course. That will exact an enormous amount of anxiety within the national psyche.

Netanyahu, alas, had his George Bush moment - a missed opportunity. When those three Israeli teens were abducted (murdered), an unjustifiable and horrific act of cowardice and wantonness, the world sympathized with Israel as it had with the U.S. after 9-11. But just as Bush squandered the world's sympathy with an unjustified invasion of Afghanistan, and then Iraq, Netanyahu squandered it with his invasion (a non-sequitur regarding the abductions/murders) of Gaza.

If a phoenix were to arise from the ashes of Gaza, let it be a bird of shalom. May it be so.

(22) jay, August 9, 2014 10:03 PM


Unfortunately this essay rings to true.

(21) LOUIS ANUGWA, August 9, 2014 3:46 PM


God of Israel, iron dome protected Israel. Even with All its effectiveness, without divine power it would have been useless. The Jews should know that Europeans are envious of them! Jews and all Israelis elsewhere should go back home and remove all these usurpers from eretz Israel.

(20) Neria, August 8, 2014 5:40 PM

Todah Rabah

Dear Rabbi Coopersmith, Todah Rabah for your grounded summary of the gaza war especially during these sober monthes of Tammuz and Av. Thank you for being realistic and focusing on how much we have to pray to the Almighty for: gratitude and the eternal protection of Israel. Shabbat Shalom

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