Last December, I attended the Christian Media Summit in Israel, where we had a chance to travel to Southern Israel to visit an IDF army base and see for ourselves how people live only two kilometres from the Gaza border.
The communities we visited have been almost entirely destroyed or evacuated since the morning of 7 October when Hamas launched several attacks against the State of Israel.
One of the earliest horrifying massacres happened at the Supernova music festival in Kibbutz Re’im, where thousands of young people partied three miles from the Gaza border. On the morning of 7 October, the festival was stopped as rocket sirens sounded, and suddenly, out of nowhere, fifty terrorists in military uniforms entered the site, shooting indiscriminately and murdering 260 innocent people. Noa Argamani was last seen in the viral video begging for her life on the back of a Hamas terrorist’s motorcycle, with her outstretched arms pointing toward her helpless boyfriend. She screams, ‘Don’t kill me! No, no, no’—but the gunman speeds off. Today—when this article is written—on Noa’s 26th birthday, her heartbroken parents sent her birthday messages, which were shared by many via social media ‘hoping it will reach her.’
Kibbutz Be’eri was the most affected of all Israeli communities, with Hamas terrorists brutally killing 110 Jewish people, meaning that almost one in ten residents was massacred, and many more were taken hostage. IDF Major Doron Spielman highlighted: ‘Just like Auschwitz is the symbol of the Holocaust, Be’eri will be the symbol of this pogrom.’
The major described the horrifying scenes in the kibbutz where bodies of infants and young people were found mutilated; their heads, arms, and limbs were cut off, young people were sliced open, and the knives used left there for all to see. ‘It is as if all the cruel monstrosities ever perpetrated by man throughout history were concentrated into one morning in one small town,’ the major remarked.
Since the outbreak of the war on 7 October, more than 5000 rockets have been fired from Gaza, more than 1200 Israeli Jewish civilians, soldiers, and tourists from other countries were murdered in the most brutal ways, more than 3200 were injured, and more than 150 were kidnapped including babies, women, men, and elderly.
Adele Raemer, Resident of Kibbutz Nirim: ‘I Never Feared for My Life More Than On the First Two Days of the War’
At the 2022 Summit, we visited Kibbutz Nirim, where Adele Raemer, who has lived there for decades, gave a talk about what it is like to live two kilometres away from the Gaza border. Ms Raemer had experienced all the escalations and operations related to Gaza since 2009. In an interview she gave to the Hungarian Conservative a few months ago, she detailed all the traumas she had to live through since living in the proximity of Gaza. In a recent interview with The Epoch Time, she highlighted that she had never feared for her life more than on the first two days of the Hamas–Israel war.
On 6 October, Ms. Raemer and her community in Kibbutz Nirim were celebrating the kibbutz’s 77 anniversary. On the next day, Shabbat, she heard rocket alarms at 6:30 a.m., so she escaped to her safe room with her son. Fifteen minutes later, she got the notification that they had to close their windows and lock their doors, which, as Ms Raemer explained in the interview, can’t be properly locked unless someone is sitting behind the door because they were not built for hiding from infiltrators, but for rocket attacks where rescuers need to be able to easily access if someone got injured. Ms Raemer stayed in the safe room for more than seven hours before the Israeli army arrived to evacuate them. While locked in the safe room, they heard shooting and Arabic voices from outside as terrorists tried to break into her house, but miraculously, after breaking her windows, they went away. ‘So many little miracles but so many tragedies,’ Ms Raemer added.
According to Ms Raemer, the kibbutz has trained armed first responders—who managed to kill some terrorists—but there weren’t enough of them. However, not all first responders could go out and fight, as some had to stay with their families to protect them. Ms Raemer’s son-in-law, for instance, shot the terrorists who had entered their house dead while the children were hiding in the safe room.
In the interview, Ms. Raemer recounted some of the horrifying fates of her friends and neighbours. A man, hiding in his safe room and trying to hold the door closed to keep the terrorists out, was fatally shot through the door. Another man and his daughter were dragged out by terrorists and shot on the spot. A 75-year-old woman and her two adult sons were kidnapped. Ms Raemer said the terrorists used the woman’s phone, took pictures of her being abducted by a man with a rifle, and sent it to her daughter. ‘I’ll tell you: they’re barbarians. This is not an army. Armies don’t act this way. These are barbarians. Their only aim is to conquer, destroy, and colonize,’ Ms. Raemer stated.
After a four-hour bus ride, those residents of Nirim who weren’t kidnapped or massacred were evacuated to Eilat, the port on Israel’s southern tip. Ms Raemer and her daughter’s family are now staying in a hotel.
Hamas Showed Again that Anti-Zionism is a Violent Form of Anti-Semitism
There are an overwhelming number of stories we have heard and seen from Israel in the past few days about the abominable acts of Hamas terrorists: how they massacred, kidnapped, raped, burnt, and tortured innocent Israeli Jews and foreigners alike, including children, women, men, and elderly. It’s hard to fathom what Holocaust survivors who had lived through one of history’s greatest tragedies and who found comfort and hope in the fact that they could live in their homeland in Israel had to go through. It’s also hard to process that daughters, sons, parents, wives, husbands, and grandparents had to learn from terrorists that their beloved ones were murdered, tortured, humiliated, or kidnapped. These days showed that the main agenda of Hamas’ anti-Zionist propaganda is not to gain territory or ‘free’ civil Palestinians,
but to kill as many Jewish people as they can, humiliate them in the most brutal ways, and destroy Israel.
These days showed again that Hamas used many donations from international institutions, nations, and human rights organizations to fund terror instead of lifting Gazans out of poverty or at least build bomb shelters and safe rooms where they can hide in times of conflict. Instead of protecting Palestinian civilians, Hamas uses them as human shields and exposes them to violence.
Pro-Palestine protesters also showed how anti-Zionism could quickly turn into violent antisemitism as in London, Sydney, Canada, the US, and other countries they celebrated the Hamas brutality, burned Israeli flags, and chanted horrific antisemitic slogans like ‘gas the Jews’.
Tragically, hatred and violence keep being fuelled; Hamas called for a ‘holy war’ for Friday, 13 October 2023, a ‘World Jihad Day,’ or Day of Rage, according to a statement cited by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). Jewish people worldwide were advised to avoid going to crowded places, or even going out at all. J.K. Rowling expressed her outrage at this in a post on X: ‘British Jewish children are being advised to hide their identities as they walk to school, for their own safety. There should be mass outrage that this is necessary.’
By contrast, there was no reason for Jewish Hungarian to hide or be scared yesterday:
Prime Minister Orbán announced that Hungary would not allow any rallies supporting Hamas, or any other terrorist organization, as ‘all Hungarian citizens should feel safe, regardless of their faith or origin.’
UN, EU, and Amnesty International Turning a Blind Eye to the Sufferings of More Than 1200 Jewish People
Instead of showing full support for Israel, which is fighting for its existence, the United Nations, the European Union, and human rights organizations like Amnesty International have either one-sidedly condemned Israel for the sufferings of Palestinian civilians or have spoken without action. On the third day of the conflict, the UN Human Rights Council turned a blind eye to the Israeli victims and held a one-minute silence for ‘the loss of innocent lives in the occupied Palestinian territory and elsewhere,’ and Pakistani envoy Zaman Mehdi blamed Israel for ‘breeding violence’. The statement didn’t mention either Israeli victims or the terror of Hamas.
Although Hungarian EU Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi announced that ‘all payments from the development program for Palestinians would be immediately suspended, all projects put under review, all new budget proposals postponed until further notice in the EU,’ the EU within hours reversed the announcement and won’t entirely stop its funding for the Palestinians. Reacting to the brutal terror of Hamas, EU commissioner Olivér Várhelyi said: ‘The foundations for peace, tolerance and coexistence must now be addressed. Incitement to hatred, violence, and glorification of terror have poisoned the minds of too many.’
As explained in a Hungarian Conservative interview with the founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch Itamar Marcus, the Palestinian Authority would never be able to promote and support terror without the EU’s support. ‘The Palestinian Authority promotes terror even among its children, rewards terrorist murderers in prison with high salaries of up to 12 thousand shekels a month—which is four times the average Palestinian salary.’
Amnesty International, similarly, but not surprisingly, issued an extremely biased statement regarding the brutal terrorist attacks on Israel and the response to it in which it blames Israel for the escalation of fighting in Israel and the Gaza Strip.
The Deadliest Day for Jews Since the Holocaust
Joe Biden, the president of the United States, in his historical speech, condemned the ‘cruel’ attack by Hamas militants on Israel on 7 October, called out people not to remain silent as it is ‘complicity’ and highlighted that it was the ‘deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust.’ As the article of the Tablet phrased: ‘The staggering cost—and simply unfathomable numbers—of the many hundreds of murdered and kidnapped Israelis from Saturday’s deadly Hamas attack from Gaza, have already been dubbed by Israelis as our own national “9/11” or “Pearl Harbor.” But unfortunately, given the nature and scale of the horrific crimes perpetrated against Israelis—the vast majority of them civilians, not soldiers, including many children, women, and the elderly—the more appropriate analogy is that of the Holocaust.’ However, as a True North article pointed out, ‘Hamas broadcasted their atrocities for the world to see. They were proud of their barbarism, they did it out in the open. They wanted the world to know. Even the Nazis mostly hid their evil, and many Germans didn’t realize the extent to which Jews were being exterminated until after the war had ended. Palestinian terrorists had no such desire to hide their evil deeds.’
Hungarians With Other Countries Sing Together: Jewish Hope is Not Yet Lost To be a Free People in the Land of Zion and Jerusalem
Although these days are filled with heartbreak, grief, and the darkness of evil, it brought some light to see how countries showed their solidarity with the State of Israel. Global landmarks, from the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the Opera House in Sydney, to Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate and the White House in Washington DC, have been illuminated with Israel’s blue and white colours, demonstrating an extraordinary display of international support. It was also touching to see large crowds of people singing the Israeli hymn ‘Hatikvah,’ sending a clear message to Israel that the Jewish ‘Hope is not yet lost, It is two thousand years old, To be a free people in our land, The land of Zion and Jerusalem.’
In Hungary, governmental figures and thousands of civilians showed full support and solidarity with the State of Israel and the Jewish people. The Hungarian Jewish communities united for the cause and expressed their solidarity and support for Israel. Hetek, a Hungarian Christian weekly magazine, and Hit Rádió, a Hungarian Christian online radio, organized a solidarity demonstration on Tuesday evening at the Shoes at the Danube Bank Holocaust memorial site to stand with Israel.
Over five thousand participated in the event with speeches by Yacov Hadas-Handelsman, Israeli Ambassador to Hungary, and Sándor Németh, lead pastor of Faith Church Hungary, a long-time supporter of the Jewish state. In his speech, Yacov Hadas-Handelsman, Israeli Ambassador, thanked the participants for taking a stand. He pointed out that he had never seen so many Israel-supporting Hungarians near the memorial site. He stressed that the Hamas terror organization and ISIS are, in fact, the same in nature and using the same methods, posing a civilizational threat to all of us. In his speech, Faith Church leader, pastor Sándor Németh stated that the memorial site was not chosen by chance for the rally, as the Palestinian killers are indeed similar to the Nazis and the Hungarian Nazi Arrow Cross during the Second World War. He also posed a rhetorical question: Can someone be called a human being who kills innocent civilians, children, young people, and old people indiscriminately? ‘Satan lives on earth again and has taken on the form of many human bodies,’ the leading pastor said, who at the same time called on the demonstrators not to be afraid, to be brave, and to stand against this evil. In his powerful speech, István Mészáros, the former vice-chairman of the Human Rights, Minority and Religious Affairs Committee of the National Assembly, emphasized that EU member states should demonstrate the seriousness of their resistance to jihadist terror and oppression by moving their embassies to Jerusalem, the eternal, indivisible capital of Israel.
‘It would be great if we Hungarians were first to do so,’
On Wednesday, the Dohány Street Synagogue filled with people for a solidarity service held by rabbis of the Hungarian Jewish communities. Hungarian President Katalin Novák and other church leaders and governmental figures attended the service. Dr Andor Grósz, head of the Hungarian Jewish Federation MAZSIHISZ, said: ‘The mourning and grief of the Jewish community is shared by Hungarian society.’ He said the inhuman terrorist attack launched on the holiday of the Torah had not hit Israel and Jewish people only: ‘They not only took human lives but brutally violated the Ten Commandments, a gift of the Torah to mankind.’
As Holocaust survivor and Noble Prize winner Professor Elie Wiesel phrased it: ‘The opposite of love is not hatred, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness; it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.’ We Hungarians won’t remain indifferent and won’t remain silent. Never again.