Thoughts and prayers for those brutally murdered and those held hostage in Gaza
By Rolene Marks
[Warning: Graphic Content]
I think of Kfir. I see his toothless baby grin, his head of burnished copper hair. He is 9 months old.
I think of Joshua and Clemence, two students from Tanzania who were in Israel on an agricultural programme, learning skills to take back to their country.
I think of Mia Schem. Beautiful Mia, whose blue eyes are haunting. Little Abigail Idan is 3-years- old. Her parents were killed in front of her and her siblings. Her sibling are safe but she was taken. She must be terrified. Is there someone to comfort her? To hold her? To make the monsters go away?
I think of Hersh. His arm was blown off. Is he still alive? Vivian Silver is in her 70’s. She is a peace activist. A Holocaust survivor taken in her wheelchair. Is her life going to be bookended by the horrors and tragedies the Jewish people know very well?
Ohad celebrated his 9th birthday as a hostage. The horror is unimaginable. They are babies and children, mothers, fathers, foreign workers, tourists, whole families, the elderly, men and women and the disabled.
I think of the young woman, dragged out from a jeep by her hair, hands bound behind her back and blood all over the seat of her pants. The unimaginable is obvious. She has been sexually assaulted, paraded like a prize in Gaza. Who tends to her wounds, who tends to her shattered, traumatized body?
At last count, 242 Israelis and foreign nationals have been taken hostage by Hamas terrorists. Like many, I spend a lot of time thinking about them and their families. I think of the empty spaces at the Shabbat dinner tables. I wonder if they are all being held together or if they have separated men from women, mothers from their babies.
I think of the families in anguish. They do not sleep, they do not eat. They just worry. They are enduring the unimaginable and their courage is staggering.
Israel is a nation still coming to terms with our shock and grief. The atrocities committed by Hamas happened in our home, to our citizens. We all know somebody who has been murdered, taken hostage of kidnapped.
We are learning more and more on a daily basis about the depths and levels of depravity that Hamas inflicted on our people. This was the greatest loss of Jewish life since the Holocaust.
Whole families exterminated, women and children raped and tortured, babies burnt and beheaded (yes, it HAS been substantiated), the elderly gunned down, revelers at a peace festival hunted like prey and worse – it was depravity and horror that even our worst nightmares couldn’t conjure. Where once there were family portraits of smiling parents with their children – there are funeral notices. There are barely any traces of some of the victims. They were reduced to ash, like our ancestors at Auschwitz.
On a nearly daily basis the number of hostages increases – this is despite four being released as Hamas play a macabre psychological game by pretending to be “humanitarian” and one female soldier, Uri Megidish being rescued by the IDF during ground operations in Gaza.
Every day I think of the hostages. Every day I think of the victims and their families. I think of Thomas Hand who was relieved to hear his 8-year-old-daughter Emily was dead, rather than face captivity by deranged Hamas. I think of the soldiers slaughtered in their beds or beheaded and left strewn across the floor. I know this happened because I bore witness as many did because massacre denials forced the hand of our government to have to show the barbarity so it can NEVER be denied again. I think of Shany Louk, dancing and twirling before we all saw her body, legs broken, kicked and spat at on the back of a truck. I think of Hamid, a devout Muslim Bedouin from Rahat, his wife was pumped full of bullets. She was wearing a hijab. I think of Awad the paramedic. He was Muslim too. I think of the Thai workers and the tourists. I think of them all.
Those calling for an immediate ceasefire – and there are those like celebrities who mean well but calling them naïve is an understatement – need to understand that all a ceasefire does is give a license to Hamas to commit more murder. Hamas needs to be eradicated for all our sakes. Sorry Angelina Jolie, Drake et al – we will take our military cues from our Generals.
What happened on 7 October was a crime against humanity, of barbarity that would seem so unfathomable but is very, very real.
The blood of the victims cries out from the ground and their voices from the place in heaven reserved only for our martyrs. We will settle the score with the terrorists who committed the crime. We will not rest until all our hostages and remains are returned to us – and we include captive Israelis Avera Mengistu, and Hisham Al-Sayed, held by Hamas for several years and the remains of fallen soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul who fell during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
For Zion’s sake we will not be silent. May the memories of all who were murdered be eternally blessed.
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