Like so many readers, I awoke on Oct. 7 to a news alert: “Israel at war after Hamas attack.”
Since then, The Jewish Journal has provided extensive coverage of the attack and the impact on Israelis, and local Jews and interfaith families. We’ve covered how Bostonians are reacting to the war; the avalanche of antisemitism that has followed Oct. 7, with some local Jews being verbally and physically attacked; and the debate on local campuses, such as Harvard, MIT and UMass-Amherst, where some Jewish students no longer feel safe to identify as Jews.
We’ve also reported on Greater Boston natives who now live in Israel, and their thoughts about how the attack has changed Israel. In addition, our coverage has benefited from the analysis of Pulitzer Prize winner David Shribman, and Israeli-based journalist Ronni Shaked, who formerly led the country’s internal security service (Shin Bet) in Jerusalem.
For more than three months, the war has raged in Gaza and has changed the lives of Israelis, Palestinians and those who live in neighboring countries. Besides Gaza, where Israeli forces have been fighting since early November, Israel faces well-armed Iranian proxies on several other fronts: Hezbollah, on the northern Lebanon border, which has 150,000 missiles pointed at Israel; the West Bank, where Hamas rules the streets; the Houthis in Yemen, who continue to fire long range missiles toward the southern Israeli city of Eilat; and militias in Syria and Iraq.
Like so many of you, the images of the Oct. 7 attack, and the world’s reaction after the atrocities that Hamas committed that day has left me shaken, and worried about the future of the country – and the state of security for Jews in America.
On Jan. 10, I did what I needed to do: I got on an El Al plane and flew directly to Tel Aviv. For the next two weeks, I traveled the country and interviewed Israelis. I spoke with family and friends of the more than 130 kidnapped Israelis in Gaza; I visited Tel HaShomer Hospital in Tel Aviv and met with wounded soldiers; I interviewed the country’s top psychiatrists about the psychological impact of the war; I traveled to Kibbutz Be’eri and viewed the charred remains of homes where over 130 Israelis were slaughtered by Hamas; I drove along Route 232 to the Nova rave site where a memorial now stands where Hamas murdered 360 people who were dancing. I met with former national security heads; the director of an organization that leads 15,000 volunteers who have filled the gap in providing everything from shelter to medicine since Oct. 7; and I spoke with nearly every Israeli I met.
My article about Israel will run in the Journal’s next edition, on Feb. 15.
On Feb. 8, I will discuss my reporting at a forum at Congregation Shirat Hayam in Swampscott at 7:30 p.m. To register, visit jewishjournal.org/notebook. Θ