For God Goes with You to War


“When you go forth to battle against your enemies, and you see a horse and a chariot, a people much more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them, for the Lord, your God, is with you, He who brought you from the Land of Egypt.

“And as you get near to the war, the priest will approach and talk to the people. And he shall say to them: Hear O, Israel, you are getting near today to war upon your enemies. Your heart should not soften. Do not worry and do not hasten and do not affright from them.


Israelis are a strange bunch. At the moment, they seem confused, bewildered, otherwise smartly occupied.

It was before the land incursion into Gaza, that Rabbis and Commanders talked with the soldiers who were about to enter into the Devil’s Inferno. They would risk their lives, and fourteen of them would die. Why? Simply, because the Israeli military protects the lives of the innocent, even at great risk to its own soldiers.

Many would contest the presumption of “innocence” of the Gazans. For them, one simple answer was and is given: A person is a human being, created in the image of the Almighty, and Israel, despite all the blood libels, and unlike any of her enemies, holds the sanctity of life above all else.

Crazy those Israelis.

Indeed, there were many investigations. Most were prompted by lies propagated by Jews and Israelis, haters of Israel. They cannot fathom the very existence of the Jewish state, so they called what happened in Gaza, from the comforts of their homes at the center of the country, a “Blood Bath.” Interestingly, while they may have been the most vocal opponents of Israel, there are the silent voices of the Gazans, who in their hearts knew and know to give thanks that their sworn enemy is neither Muslim nor Arab but the Jewish People. Anyone else, especially Arabs or Iranians, would have butchered them in an instant. Not so the Israelis.

The Israelis called their cell phones and monitored their positions. They knew that Hamas controls their every move and purposely inhabited every kindergarten, school, hospital and mosque throughout Gaza. Those damn Israelis, those pigs and apes that have infested the holy land of the Muslims, they fired warning shots and directed the civilians to clear areas, where they would not be hurt. They did everything possible to avoid civilian casualties.

Indeed, so many maligned Israel, the “Goliath” who with phosphorus bombs inflicted horrors on the population, that we started believing all the wrongdoings and did not stop for a second to think if reality can even be reconciled with the accusations. The truth is drastically different, for any army that did not care about human life, and every army that was determined to end a conflict without risk to its own, would have finished the job in a matter of hours, or even in minutes. Not so the Israelis.

The Gazans know that fact well. The Israeli soldiers know that. But there are those vocal “Peace Activists,” enemies of Israel in disguise, who want us to believe otherwise.

If I did not witness it for myself, I too would have laughed out loud in utter disbelief. There were voices in Israel who criticized Rabbis and Commanders for strengthening their soldiers and preaching the right of way. Why would some Israelis have an issue with going to war prepared? Fret not, for all is done to undermine Israel’s own conviction that its fight is right, that her way is moral. But these voices could not succeed for not only is there nothing to be ashamed of when the war is just, but it is also a necessary condition.

Israel has suffered greatly from Gazans’ firing at will into her cities and population centers. She suffered long, all too long. No other country would tolerate rockets and missiles fired from across the border, but Israel for some odd reason remained quiet for eight long years.

The reason is likely that those living farther away in Tel Aviv, the pretty-ultra-liberal-most-progressive-souls, did not feel the wrath of living under constant, unpredictable bombardment. They continued their lives while those in the south, predominantly from weaker economic segments of society, had no other place to go than their homes, so they stayed and did their best to cope.

Those in Tel Aviv and their media-savvy friends knitted a net of lies and deceit that sounded too good: The “Plight” of the “Palestinians,” the “Apartheid Rule” of Israel, give peace a chance. It is thus not a great surprise that many of their children avoided services, although it is mandatory. It is not at all amazing that most of their children did not visit Jerusalem even once, and one wonders how Israelis today can “give up so easily on Jerusalem.” Give up? Why, when you do not view something as yours. Protect? Not when it happens so far away, in a different land, and you sit at a cafe or have just returned from the beach in Tel Aviv.

However, Israel is tiny, and what happens in the very north, not far away from the border where Katyusha rockets fall, has a tendency to advance toward the center. In the summer of 2006 the advancement stopped at Haifa, or a little bit further south.

Likewise, what happened across the border with Gaza spread to cover all cities in southern Israel.

From Lebanon in the North and Gaza in the South, the totality of Israel is now in range of very accurate and highly destructive missiles.

So between Hezbollah and Hamas, their unwavering determination to destroy the Jewish state and the new missiles and training they both received from Iran, there is not a single part of Israel that is now a safe haven for fools.

And this is exactly the miracle that is Israel. Israelis may have ignored for too long the plight of those in the north or those in the south, but there is no difference whatsoever between one Israeli and another. Allow me to make this point even stronger: THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ONE ISRAELI OR ANOTHER, EVEN IF THE OTHER IS NOT JEWISH. There you go. This is exactly what our Torah – the Jewish Bible – teaches us, that those foreign to us, the widowed and the orphaned are to be treated equally. So we are commanded, so it is expected. And we are reminded, lest we forget, “for slaves you have been in Egypt.” We, too, have been foreigners in a foreign land once, a land not ours, a land to which we are not to return.

There is something unique about the Jewish State in the Land of Israel. It is the only Jewish country in the world, the only place a Jewish person can, by right, call home. And thus, even if one mistakenly hears or thinks that we have lost our way, we have not. Our conviction is as deep as our history is old. Attempt to take it away, and you will find the lion roaring beneath.

It is only a question of the lion needing awakening, exactly like the people going to war need to be reminded by the priest, encouraged by our history and focus their attention on the fact that we fight in order to exist, and we exist in order to do good. The Almighty, Lord of Hosts, our God, will deal with the enemy, for the enemy is vile, vicious and evil-the enemy is the Enemy of God.

We, Israelis and Jews who seem so divided and lost, will emerge victorious once we realize we are one. We knew it all along, but we were otherwise distracted by chaos, noise and other temptations. Priests and Commanders are needed to direct us properly, to remind us of the path in which we must proceed.

May we live to see the end of chaos, a time when Jewish People reside in the Land of Israel and are allowed to live their lives in peace. May we be part of making that happen, and may we always protect all that has been given to us in trust for safekeeping and passage onto future generations.

In the series “Postcards from Israel,” Ari Bussel and Norma Zager invite readers throughout the world to join them as they present reports from Israel as seen by two sets of eyes: Bussel’s on the ground, Zager’s counter-point from home. Israel and the United States are inter-related – the two countries we hold dearest to our hearts – and so is this “point – counter-point” presentation that has, since 2008, become part of our lives.