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Will Israel's closest ally let them defend themselves or cut them off?

OpinionWill Israel's closest ally let them defend themselves or cut them off?

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“That war ended the way all the other wars have ended: our closest ally saying, ‘That’s enough.’”

We’re listening to a talk by Avraham Levine, speaker and digital content manager from The Alma Research and Education Center, a nonprofit dedicated to research and analysis of the security challenges Israel faces on its border with Lebanon

Levine is referring to the 2006 war Israel fought with Lebanon after Hezbollah launched a sneak attack on Israel, first launching rockets and then kidnapping two soldiers. 

Biden and Schumer

President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images | Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

If it sounds familiar, that’s because it is. It’s a cycle that Israel is forced to live through every few years. Suffer death and destruction, fight back, be told to stop it. 

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Levine is giving this talk the day the Biden administration gingerly walked back their “red line” comments regarding the Israeli Defense Forces continuing on to Rafah

This time is unusual because Israel has taken the step of evacuating 80,000 people from their homes in the north after the Oct. 7 attacks in the south. Will they ever go back? How? When? The phrase “existential crisis” is on everyone’s lips.

I had spent nearly a week in Israel hearing the perspective on the ground from a range of people, experts and civilians alike. My trip was organized by a group called Maccabee Task Force. They have previously taken celebrities and influencers, generally on the left, to show them the real Israel. 

The trip featured wild emotional swings. We visited Hostage Square in Tel Aviv and spoke to families of those being held captive in Gaza. 

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We toured Kfar Aza, a kibbutz in the south that was attacked on Oct. 7, and were shown around by one of the survivors who is also the only person to return to his home to live at the kibbutz. 

We walked among the memorials at the site of the Nova music festival where teenagers out for a good time on a Friday night were slaughtered. It was sad and infuriating.

Still, all around us is a country fully flourishing and alive. We dined at some amazing and innovative Tel Aviv restaurants, walked the bustling promenade along the sea and saw a resilient country aching for stability and normalcy.

Israel goes through periods of relative quiet but the last war is never really over. Leftists in the U.S. and Europe brush off the Israeli deaths that happen at these incursions and try to make Israel’s square peg fit into their round ideological hole. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., recently called for overthrowing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, ostensibly because “dangerous & inflammatory policies that test existing U.S. standards for assistance.” 

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But not a single leader in Israel or anywhere else would conduct a gentler war after the slaughtering of teenagers and the elderly in their homes and the kidnapping of babies still in their pajamas.

Or the continuing misconception that Israel’s troubles are caused by their “occupation” of Gaza and the West Bank. 

When you listen to Israel’s enemies speak, however, whether Yahya Sinwar in Gaza or Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut, it’s clear that what they want isn’t a free Gaza or the West Bank but an occupied, by them, Tel Aviv and Haifa. None of the murderers of Oct. 7 shouted out “Free Palestine.” They called their parents and bragged about killing Jews. 

The point is not their freedom, it’s Israeli destruction.

This Israel cannot abide. 

The pain in the country is palpable. But it has also been a salve.

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Before the attacks on Oct. 7, Israel was in a very divided place with large weekly protests about judicial reform. Since then, the country has united but obvious fractures remain. All over Tel Aviv, half of Netanyahu’s face appears on billboards with the words “You’re the head. You’re guilty,” in Hebrew. 

Even what should be nonpolitical becomes political. At Hostage Square, small protests have sprung up to pressure the Israeli government to make a deal, any deal, as long as the hostages are returned. This has caused a fracture even among hostage families. 

Some of them will understandably push for absolutely anything to bring their loved ones home. Others think the long-term strategy of the country needs to take precedence. 

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There’s a sense that Israel simply can’t keep doing this every few years. Hamas needs to be dealt with in the south and, left only somewhat unsaid, is that the north will ignite sooner rather than later as well.

America looms large. Will their closest ally let them defend themselves or will we cut them off from destroying their enemies and begin the cycle anew? Israelis are on the edge of their seats waiting to find out.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM KAROL MARKOWICZ

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