Hamas’ Horrors as a Turning Point in Human History
Rabbi Sarel Rosenblatt is a Rosh Yeshiva at Ohr Torah Stone’s Robert M. Beren Machanim Hesder Yeshiva, as well as a Fellow in OTS’s Beit Midrash for Judaism and Humanity
I write this from the depths of my broken heart.
We are at a turning point in the history of modern Western Civilization and the three monotheistic religions.
Am Israel Chai! The nation of Israel is strong! The People of the Book will win this war.
But it is not only the fate of Israel that is at stake, rather the fate of Western civilization, religion and the entire world.
The day of 10/7 is the new 9/11, but in many ways worse. All the red lines were egregiously crossed, barbarically and mercilessly: parents hugging their children as they were burnt alive in their beds; elderly Holocaust survivors and others being abducted to Gaza; infants beheaded, gunned down or kidnapped; woman raped and murdered in cold blood.
These are images of the Holocaust. These are the actions of Nazis, ISIS and al-Qaeda.
This is no longer a complex picture or two sides of the same coin. However simple it may seem, it is very clear: this is a war between justice and evil, good and bad; a battle between those who believe that all people are created in God’s image and those who deprive that from others and themselves.
This turning point in human history poses a crucial question to each and every person, group, country and religion: On which side are you? Who are you defending? How willing are you to fight the evil that has presented itself before us?
Your answer to that will drastically influence not only who you are, but also who your community is and who your country is, the identity of your religion and the future of Western civilization.
Just as it was after the Holocaust and World War II, here, too, we must change our paradigm. It is a conceptual change from the basis for how we perceive humanity, morality, the manner in which we combat terrorism and the manner in which we respond to religious violence and murder.
However, it was not only Hamas militants. It was the masses, hundreds and thousands of young adults, wearing jeans, t-shirts and sneakers who found an opportunity to slaughter senior citizens and babies, and to rape and lynch women.
These are not acts of self-defense or deeds of vengeance. This is slaughter, derived from a deep hatred driven and fueled by religion.
Let no one tell you that it is merely a “border squabble” or a “political conflict”.
This is a war of religion driven by people who claim to be “true Muslims”, who – wrongly, in my opinion – find their inspiration in the Quran.
And so, the voice of religious people must be heard. This is an event which must be taught in every school for religion and theology.
Whoever denies the Holocaust will inevitably be inspired by their religion to commit crimes against humanity.
The Western concept of containing terrorist organizations that declare a will to kill and destroy – in the name of autonomy and personal rights and freedom of religion – has been crushed.
The military ethics of the West – embodied by the International Court of Justice in The Hague – have been exposed as unable to protect our rights of freedom, equality and justice.
For that reason, these horrific actions have an impact on the entire world.
To my Christian friends: far too many of you were silent during the Holocaust. Fortunately, you understood that you were mistaken and you expressed regret. In an inspiring process, you have fundamentally changed the understandings of your religion. But our Sages teach that in order to fully repent, you must face the same challenge, only this time you choose to act the right way. Will you remain silent this time?
To my Muslim friends: I know a different Islam that truly teaches about Salam: Shalom, peace. Whoever stays silent at this time – or is glad about what Hamas has done, or does not fully disapprove – not only are you an accomplice to the slaughter, you now set the historical fate of Islam.
Will Islam fulfill its divine duty to be a religion that spreads faith and peace, or will it be a religion of ISIS that carries out a Nazi ideology?
To my Jewish friends: to all who are silent, who in recent years have begun to identify with anti-Israel movements, now you hopefully understand what is taking place, who the enemy is and what it is that we face. Your silence today or your hesitance in responding will be a stain for generations.
You must be the first to stand up for Israel, advocating for it and combating anti-Semitism and all anti-Israel organizations (including on university campuses) that support Hamas, whether directly or indirectly.
Billions of dollars are sent every year to the Gaza Strip. And for some reason, the population continues to remain in poverty.
Now you know where the money really goes.
No one can evade these questions. And it is our responsibility – indeed, the responsibility of all of humanity – to fight by Israel’s side. For light and good, for liberty and human dignity, and for the God of morality and justice.