Remaining an Or L’Goyim in a Post-October 7 World


October 7 was a day that will never be forgotten, not by Israelis nor by Jews all over the world, who all united to mourn the tragic number of deaths and destruction in our nation. We awoke to find a growing list of hostages—some of which came home, yet too many are still held hostage by Hamas. Since the start of the war in Gaza, many people around the world have questioned the morality of our government after we seemingly “invaded” Gaza and murdered thousands of innocent civilians. This is of course not the whole story. The Israeli military has taken the utmost care to execute this war in a moral and just way, and the IDF is seen by many as an or l’goyim, a light unto the nations.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr, a U.S. presidential candidate praised Israel’s morality during a Reuters interview on March 20th. He explained that if any other nation were faced with a neighboring country attempting to annihilate their people, they would go and bomb it to the ground. “But Israel is a moral nation. So it didn’t do that. Instead, it built the Iron Dome to protect itself so it would not have to go into Gaza.” Even after all the tragedy we faced, and all those around us trying to hurt us, the IDF continues to work incredibly hard to maintain its ethical and moral ideals. Their goal remains to uphold morality and incredibly high standards of care and decency in the face of unmitigated evil and terror. 

Israel has always cared deeply about human life and is not willing to sacrifice this care for anything. Not only is the IDF careful to protect Jewish lives, but it also extends the same care to Palestinian lives. The IDF is under strict instructions to prevent as many innocent Palestinian casualties as possible during this war in Gaza. Although other nations accuse Israel of indiscriminately slaughtering Palestinians, John Spencer, chairman of urban warfare studies at West Point, described Israel’s achievements as “unprecedented” and that Israel is setting the “gold standard” for avoiding civilian casualties. 

The IDF has even given notice before attacks to allow Palestinians to escape and not be harmed. They have dropped 7.2 million leaflets, made 79,000 calls, and sent 13.7 million texts and 15 million recorded calls to Palestinians in Gaza with evacuation warnings. No other country sends their enemies a warning before an attack, especially if it takes away the much-needed element of surprise. Israel has also been providing safe passage for those who choose to leave the Gaza Strip. Throughout this war, Israel has taken the safety of Palestinians extremely seriously and has gone above and beyond to prevent innocent casualties.  

Israel is trying to save and protect Palestinians while Hamas is intentionally putting its own people in harm’s way. While the IDF warned them and told them to leave the combat zone, Hamas ordered its civilians to stay and in many cases physically prevented them from leaving. Hamas has been caught on camera using its children as human shields so that the IDF would not shoot. Hamas bases its  operations out of hospitals and schools because it knows the IDF  will not bomb such facilities and risk the lives of innocent Palestinians. 

In addition, the Israeli authorities attempted to send 12 humanitarian aid missions into Gaza at the beginning of March, but half were denied and half postponed. Even though Hamas’s people are suffering, homeless, and many are without food, Hamas still did not accept aid from Israel. Moreover, the aid that is accepted is frequently stolen by Hamas to fund the war efforts. 

Golda Meir once said, “Peace will come when the Arabs start to love their children more than they hate us.” Hamas does not care for their own people’s lives and this makes the IDF’s commitment to being moral in war an even greater challenge.

The IDF is one of the most moral armies in the world because it represents Israel—a deeply moral country. Jews know it and so does Hamas. Hamas knows our morals, they know that we are not willing to kill innocent children, even if they are our enemies. If Hamas knows this and uses it against us, why does the world still reject it, and claim we are immoral in war? 

In 2014, when Israel went into Gaza in Operation Protective Edge, Col. Richard Kemp, the former supreme commander of British forces in Afghanistan, testified: “The Israel Defence Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.” Jews are not alone. Many see our commitment to morality, and applaud us for it. Yet even more people are blinded by publicity stunts and accuse us of not caring for the lives of the Palestinians in Gaza. They accuse Jews of killing everyone indiscriminately and without thought, when it is just not true. Israel has conducted the battle against Hamas in an extremely moral way, and the facts prove it. This battle against Hamas and all the nations who seek to destroy Israel is a hard battle we did not want but must fight. We must keep to our values and continue to be an orl’goyim, despite all those who try to degrade us and accuse Jews of immorality. We must keep moving forward and end this war for our sake, and for all the innocent Palestinians who are living in ruins and await an end to the war. We must keep fighting to bring our people home and illuminate Jewish morality and values to the world.

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