The current incursion into Gaza touches all in Israel, no matter how new or veteran you are in the country. Donniel Hartman’s moving piece (see here and here in Hebrew/לחץ כאן לקרוא בעברית) on the dilemma of a father of a soldier and a citizen with greater responsibilities than his personal feelings expresses it well. Others have written about this, as well, most notably Yossi Klein Halevi, who has lectured at Hartman Institute. Klein calls it the, “terrible responsibility of being an Israeli.”
Anyone who has ever heard Donniel speak in America, or Yossi for that matter, or many others, or who has a relative or friend here and who may not even be Jewish, is now only two degrees of separation from a possible battlefield injury or fatality, let alone a victim of a Hamas missile or mortar shell. So, in fact, dear reader in the U.S., you may be closer to the war here than in Iraq or Afghanistan. The sheer size of America makes a broader separation not just possible, but likely.
And as you read accounts of casualties in Gaza, take a look at Moshe Halbertal’s piece on the IDF’s moral code. The IDF makes mistakes, it goes without saying, but it also takes precautions that even endanger its own people if the goal is to prevent civilian casualties.
The ground war in Gaza may not be brief, and it may be costly in terms of lives, and it will certainly continue to invite soul searching from all but the most brain-dead and emotionally bankrupt.