On May 11, 1960, Israel’s Mossad agents captured Nazi leader Adolph Eichmann in Argentina. He had been among numerous Nazi leaders who had directed the torture and execution of six million Jews in Europe during World War Two, then fled to live under assumed identities in South America.
The news reached the rest of the world on the morning of May 24. As a ten-year-old buying the Inquirer at my corner newsstand, looking for late baseball game results, I came across a headline that changed the way I viewed the world. Up to that point, I had been unaware of the atrocities that were committed to people who were born like me. As I read the front-page article, I was stunned.
Some years later, as a young teen playing football on my block, I sent an insulting kid home with a bloody nose after he had hurled a slur at me. That article and realization, some years earlier, had gotten me on guard. I couldn’t imagine six million people being slaughtered with little resistance.
In the aftermath of World War Two, Israel was formed in 1948 as a refuge for Jews. Jews had lived there for centuries, and those who practiced the faith saw it as strongly biblical. From its beginnings, with the words “never again” being uttered by its citizens, the land was transformed from a desert into a strong country with top-notch defense and vast productivity that has contributed to the world.
Israel was immediately attacked at its very founding. What followed were countless attacks from the neighboring Muslim majority. Its defense forces have always prevailed. Now, with nine million citizens, seven million of whom are Jews, Israelis have always felt secure in knowing the Israeli Defense Force warriors were formidable. But along the way, Israel took its eye off the ball and was raided on Oct. 7 by Hamas terrorists from the Gaza Strip. Hamas hit the state’s underbelly, shooting randomly at the agricultural kibbutzim and torturing and killing women, children, and babies. They did not directly confront the army.
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Israel has responded as any responsible country would, seeking to avenge the deaths of 1,400 of its citizens and wipe Hamas out of existence. They dropped leaflets over Gaza so average Palestinian residents could vacate the northern part of that strip while looking to remove the Hamas terrorists who occupy the network of tunnels that need to be breached.
Since the Gaza territory was established in 2005, large amounts of money have been sent there as aid packages. However, Hamas rulers did not allocate those dollars for schools and factories. They used it to build tunnels and buy weapons, intent on invading and conquering the Israelis.
“From the river to the sea” is not an idle expression. They and other Muslim militants are intent on driving the Jewish people out of the Mideast. If that were to happen, no doubt Christians would be the next target. To the militants, they are all just infidels.
It’s a shame for innocent Palestinians whom Hamas uses as human shields, hiding under them, then crying foul when their deaths occur. But that is how Hamas manipulates the media.
That Mossad capture 63 years ago has stayed with me. With a small population but high visibility, Jews are the canary in the world’s coal mine, often the first to be blamed for a society’s ills. Sadly, it is still our lot in life. But Israel has an answer for its existential threat. And as the only democracy in the Mideast, this key ally of the United States has every right to defend itself.
Jeff Hurvitz (email@example.com) is a freelance writer and Philadelphia native.