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Israel-Hamas War: A Matter of Human Rights and Compassion

A+convoy+of+Israeli+army+vehicles+drive+along+a+road+close+to+the+southern+Israeli+city+of+Sderot+on+Oct.+23%2C+2023%2C+amid+the+ongoing+battles+between+Israel+and+the+Palestinian+group+Hamas.+Thousands+of+people%2C+both+Israeli+and+Palestinians+have+died+since+October+7%2C+2023%2C+after+Palestinian+Hamas+militants+based+in+the+Gaza+Strip%2C+entered+southern+Israel+in+a+surprise+attack+leading+Israel+to+declare+war+on+Hamas+in+Gaza+on+October+8.+%28Thomas+Coex%2FAFP%2FGetty+Images%2FTNS%29
A convoy of Israeli army vehicles drive along a road close to the southern Israeli city of Sderot on Oct. 23, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. Thousands of people, both Israeli and Palestinians have died since October 7, 2023, after Palestinian Hamas militants based in the Gaza Strip, entered southern Israel in a surprise attack leading Israel to declare war on Hamas in Gaza on October 8. (Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

*Disclaimer: This article represents Sara’s opinion alone, not that of Gulliver Prep, the administration, or the staff of the Raider Voice.

 

On Oct. 7, terrorist organization Hamas – the ruling party of the Gaza Strip which is recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and other countries – attacked the state of Israel. Hamas launched its attacks on one of the most joyous Jewish holidays – Simchat Torah – and on the morning of Shabbat, killing the most Jews in a single day since the Holocaust (so far, over 1,400 Jews have been murdered and over 4,500 have been injured). Two weeks later it became a full-on war and both the Israeli and Palestinian communities have suffered immense losses of innocent civilians.

This conflict is more than just the bloodiest day in Israel’s history: it is unprecedented in the immediate availability of information – and misinformation – in the media, both social and traditional. This avalanche of (mis)information requires that we educate ourselves on the facts – about the terrorist attacks on civilians and the wider Israeli-Palestinian conflict – and avoid succumbing to the false narratives spread online.

Understanding the greater Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires familiarity with centuries of history. It is a nuanced topic and I don’t expect vast knowledge of the conflict from anyone. However, to have strong opinions about politics and global affairs, one must be informed. But to understand and process what happened two weeks ago, all you need is compassion. As a Jew, I’ve felt unable to mourn because I have had to spend the past two weeks defending my community and country.

Many people truly don’t seem to understand and grasp the gravity of the situation and their silence scares me; if you’re silent now, what could your silence be a part of in the future?

Beyond the sorrow and shock of everything that has happened, my experience as a Jewish student has been mixed. While some friends felt indifferent to the war, I will forever be grateful to the guidance counselors and the teachers who have asked me how I’m doing and my friends in and outside of school who have checked in with me.

For Jews like me who live thousands of miles away from Israel and have a deep connection to the state, the community is small enough that many of us have family and friends in Israel or know someone who does.

I don’t expect everyone to express a nuanced and hyper-educated point of view of the conflict. What I do expect, though, is a basic degree of compassion for anyone (Jewish or Palestinian) who’s been impacted by the loss of innocent human life. 

I write in the hope that we can be empathetic and have compassion surrounding Oct. 7. It’s not a simple conflict and simplistic perspectives don’t help. But compassion and empathy do.  

 



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About the Contributor
Sara Gelrud, Editor-in-Chief
Sara Gelrud is a senior and the editor-in-chief for "The Raider Voice." This is her second year as a full staff member but has been a contributing writer since her sophomore year. Along with the newspaper, Sara is the editor-in-chief of "Reflections", the literary and arts magazine. Sara leads the Book Club and the Jewish Student Union and is excited to grow as a leader for "The Raider Voice."

Comments (17)

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  • P

    PreethiOct 30, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    Sara, thank you for having the courage to address the deep emotional impact of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, and for recognizing the need for empathy and compassion in understanding such a complex situation. What you have written is an incredibly powerful and beautifully crafted message. I look forward to reading and learning from more of your pieces in the future.

    Reply
  • S

    Shany PollakOct 27, 2023 at 3:37 pm

    This is so insightful and so well said! Thank you so much for writing this, especially in such an eloquent way!

    Reply
  • P

    PerlaOct 26, 2023 at 11:08 pm

    Thanks Sara for capturing this feeling. The lack of understanding and compassion has been dishartening.

    Reply
  • S

    Sadie OstrowickiOct 26, 2023 at 9:15 am

    I wish everyone could read this. For everyone who approaches a Jew, or Palestinian for that matter, with an accusation, they should begin with a “are you okay.” Lack of compassion just demonstrates that their end goal is to chew your head of.

    Reply
  • P

    Paul SteadOct 26, 2023 at 3:30 am

    Sarah,
    Very good article and critical that everyone understands that misinformation is being distributed by state actors who have very different agendas. Well done … and please continue to speak out with dignity and compassion … truth matters.

    Reply
  • L

    Lea Michelle BekharOct 25, 2023 at 11:29 pm

    The article you provided offers valuable insight into the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas. The call for compassion and empathy for all those affected by the loss of innocent lives is a crucial message. It’s a reminder that in times of conflict, it’s essential to prioritize humanity and understanding over simplistic perspectives. The availability of information, both accurate and misleading, in the age of social media indeed poses a challenge, making it even more vital to seek reliable sources and engage in informed discussions.

    Reply
  • F

    FernandaOct 25, 2023 at 8:53 pm

    This article is very insightful and necessary in light of the misinformation that is being spread. Thank you for speaking out about such an important issue to many Gulliver students.

    Reply
  • D

    Dr. Perri YoungOct 25, 2023 at 7:04 pm

    Thank you Sara for your courage in speaking up and your eloquent article. I wholeheartedly support your sentiments and hope that more people will try to seek accurate information.

    Reply
  • K

    KarinaOct 25, 2023 at 6:46 pm

    Thank you, Sara, for so clearly expressing the shock, fear and immense sadness we are feeling. The Hamas terrorist attacks and the ensuing rise in antisemitism around the world both seemed unimaginable just three weeks ago (and 75 years after WWII and the Holocaust.)

    We are living in a post-truth world, where we each consume the content that an algorithm predicts will confirm our prior beliefs and hence find ourselves in a deafening echo chamber. In real life, listening with empathy and acting with compassion is the only way forward.

    Reply
  • E

    EllenOct 25, 2023 at 6:44 pm

    Beautifully written. I love your message about having empathy and compassion.

    Reply
  • M

    MonicaOct 25, 2023 at 5:52 pm

    Sara Thank you for your insightful article that clearly paves the way for open and honest debate based on Knowledge of history and facts . Emotional reactions are understandable, but I wholeheartedly share your feelings. Silence in the face of what happened is unacceptable , so is indifference .
    Compassion and empathy are of the essence….

    Reply
  • R

    RominaOct 25, 2023 at 5:02 pm

    Excellent article, Sara. I share your fear of the silence of many, and even worse, I am concerned that no other minority in the world faces such obscene scrutiny and disbelief for every claim made by survivors. As you said, it isn’t expected for every person to have deep knowledge of this conflict, but to show compassion and empathy for the victims, both Israelis and Palestinians, of this terrorist organization.

    Reply
  • A

    AileenOct 25, 2023 at 4:54 pm

    Respect, compassion and thought was put into this well written article. Thank You Sara.

    Reply
  • M

    MiaOct 25, 2023 at 4:34 pm

    This is incredible! Very thoroughly written.

    Reply
  • E

    EvieOct 25, 2023 at 4:23 pm

    I love your understanding of both sides of the conflict. Sara, this is a amazingly written article; I can’t wait to see more of this.

    Reply
  • O

    OwenOct 25, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    Super cleanly written! Very insightful perspective from some who has been effected. We need more articles just like this!

    Reply
  • A

    AdamOct 25, 2023 at 4:10 pm

    Wow, great article. I agree, it’s very important to have compassion and make an effort to understand the topic before picking a side.

    Reply