Despite being caught by surprise on 7 October, Israelis sprang into action and started helping each other almost as soon as news about the brutal attacks spread. While our government stumbles and is barely visible in this crisis, Israelis are unifying as we hoped we would (and feared we may not after nine months of divisive protests and rhetoric).
Two stories stood out for me in the last couple days that I wanted to share:
Israelis uniting to support each other
In her story titled “In stunning response, 15,000 volunteers fill leadership vacuum to help victims of Hamas in The Times of Israel“, Sue Surkes wrote about how our protest movement pivoted into an effective and powerful grassroots movement to help the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who were deeply affected in the initial attacks, and those who have been displaced from their homes since then.
During the harrowing days since over 2,500 Hamas terrorists poured into Israel to slaughter 1,400 people, injure thousands, commit barbaric acts of atrocity against people of all ages and kidnap more than 200 to Gaza, civil society has quickly mobilized to an almost overwhelming degree.
Around 15,000 Israelis have answered the clarion call of movements that metamorphosed overnight from activists against the government’s divisive judicial reform proposals to coordinators of a massive infrastructure to rescue and support fellow citizens in distress.
That infrastructure, based at the Expo Tel Aviv International Convention Center since the day after the massacres, subsequently evacuated 3,000 citizens from the Gaza border communities, 200 of them under fire.In stunning response, 15,000 volunteers fill leadership vacuum to help victims of Hamas | The Times of Israel
The Haredi community reaching out to support all Israelis
I tend to be critical of the Haredi community because I have felt like they are too insular, and shrug their responsibility to Israel as a whole. This next story reveals just how I have misjudged the community.
In his story titled “Not just prayers: War sparks unprecedented mobilization by ultra-Orthodox Israelis, also in The Times of Israel“, Canaan Lidor wrote about how the Haredi community has joined the effort to help support all Israelis, including by volunteering to join the IDF to help fight this war.
Their activities are part of an unprecedented push by Haredim, who by and large avoid army service, to contribute to the war effort in myriad ways — including by volunteering for the military.
On Saturday, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Hagari said the IDF had received more than 2,000 requests from Haredim in recent days. They will begin to be drafted as volunteers on Monday, he said.Not just prayers: War sparks unprecedented mobilization by ultra-Orthodox Israelis | The Times of Israel
The first nine months of the year have been distressing, with the government’s seeming determination to fracture Israeli society with its divisive judicial overhaul legislation, not to mention constant rhetoric pitching right against left. These stories remind me that if you shove our toxic government aside, you are left with a united and strong Israel.
Israel isn’t our government, Israel is our people and our people are amazing. 🇮🇱
Just as an aside, if you want to read great quality news about Israel in English, I recommend that you read the Times of Israel. International media rarely presents an accurate perspective on Israel.