718 Comments

Bari, excellent article as usual, both heartbreaking and inspiring.

But I can't figure out how Cincinnatus ever walked within 200km of Palestine. This was 500BC and Rome was just a regional player in central Italy, half the Meditteranian away. There were trade routes but... it seems extremely unlikely. This is 10 years before Marathon. The Near East was Persian, Athens were only slowly beginning to be a thing... Rome was essentially insignificant and had no business whatsoever that far East. Is there some legend I'm missing?

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Something I read, which I cannot get out of my mind:

Why weren't the women and children of Gaza in the tunnels during the fighting?

They would have been protected. Instead, the Hamas terrorists were hiding out. These so-called soldiers should have been the ones above ground.

Ukrainian civilians stayed in underground subway tunnels. Instead of hiding, their soldiers bravely

faced danger. Ukrainians even brought their pets into the tunnels.

Kind of says it all.

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Imagine a regulatory requirement, that before you opened your blowhole to support an Islamist terror group at a western university, you had to spend 3 days walking living in a territory they control as an exchange student. Gaza, Syria, Libya - there are plenty to choose from.

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As always, great writing. Twenty five years ago i told my preschool daughter that war turns some of the most humble and simple into heroes. Fifteen years ago she repeated it back to me, and i yelled, "no, no, they die or are injured for life." I was drafted in 69 and graduated from Officers Candidate School and went to Nuremberg, my brother died from his Vietnam wounds and i ended my career working at VA Hospital.

Thanks for writing of the heroism and dignity of Israelis.

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I cannot believe the ignorance and cowardice of those in this country who support Hamas and the Palestinian people who support Hamas. I do believe that the American people would take up arms to defend ourselves. Probably not as quickly or efficiently as the Israelis, but we are fortunate to have many veterans among us who if push comes to shove, they will be there.

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Haviv Gur's Japan analogy is prescient. Your Ramallah encounters expose Palestinians' perverted, inverted world view. How do they get to think that way? Education. From nursery to university and Tik-Tok. But Islamic fanaticism can, CAN be defeated, transformed, not only on the battlefield, but more fundamentally in the classroom. It will take a generation -- all right, two --, but it must begin now or we look forward to more October 7th's and 9-11's, living with King Kong on the other side of a big wall. Imperial Japan was destroyed with atomic bombs, and then resurrected in classrooms, re-cultured, Westernized. In 1945 one would have been crazy to predict that today's baseball stars would be Japanese.

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As a sad man on the Ionian coast once said, “War is the father of us all.”

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founding

Your story of the survivors is October 7th is riveting, compelling and a lesson for our society. The most important part of your story is the manner in which day to day Palestinian's spoke about how they supported the actions of October 7th...a disgusting, normal conversation of people who see themselves as victims while Hamas ruled their roost...there are many societal parallels around the world, I hope that the Israeli Rafah-focused extermination of Hamas happens soon....Final thought about the pro-Hamas student protests, we should deport all the Palestinian supporting student ruffians that do not have visas or citizenship and all the actual pseudo citizen students supporting Hamas...we help them collect unemployment or other Biden driven reasons to never work.

Final thought, the 1968 riots between commie influenced students and the government will be mild compared to 2024 Iranian/China influenced protests against people who love America...Just say'n!!

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The Free Press helps me get through this terrible time, when I feel deserted by fellow liberals and hated by the world for being Jewish. I love the balanced reporting in this piece, even though it makes me feel hopeless about ever having peace in the Middle East. At least you are reporting the truth

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Barbara Tuchman liked to quote a Belgian intellectual in the immediate aftermath of World War I, that in dedicating a book, it was to the person he used to be before, August 14, 1914.

Holiday from history. No one reads Fernand Braudel, I suppose, but the French historian emphasized the unchanging nature of civilizations. Looking at what is happening in the Horn of Africa and with the Jew-hating Iranian proxy militias, we are back to the 18th Century and Piracy and Privateers.

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Israel must go into Rafah with all the force necessary to end this war. But we must see clearly that at its root this is a war of theology fought with lives. Behind Hamas is a suicidal death embracing theology of jihadist extremism that continues to grow globally in large part because Western theologians have failed to provide a better view. Academic theologians have become otiose, inept, cowardly and unconvincing. Western theologians need the courage to stand up to the life negating theology of the jihadists. God may not be great in elite academia, but God is very much alive in the hearts and souls of billions of people, many of whom are very very well armed, and entirely prepared to die for God. We cannot let God of Abraham be named by the jihadists.

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Outstanding, Bari. Thank you. I know this could not have been easy.

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I am grateful that you (FP) know that in order for your reporting to really mean something, you have to go to the place and speak to the people involved. So many reporters write copy in the West, but they haven't set foot outside of their office, so it means little. At least you and your team go to Israel.

Your introductory sentence about a free society being only as strong as the people willing to defend it is so true. This is why Russia, China, and Iran are acting as they are; they feel we in the West are weak, and maybe we are. We have lived for so long in relative peace and security that we take it for granted. No one alive in my country (Canada) has experienced the country under attack, and truthfully, it is even hard to imagine it.

The people of Israel (including the Israelites) have been constantly under threat in all of recorded history. They have been attacked by the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Romans, The Ottoman Turks, and so on to our modern times, where Hamas attacked on October 7th.

I feel ashamed and embarrassed when Western governments (especially ours) feel that they have the moral high ground to lecture Israel about how it should defend itself. As you mentioned in your article, over half of the Democrats polled in the US would flee if attacked and 25% of the Republicans as well. I shudder to think what the same poll would determine in my country.

I do know that if the US or Canada were actually attacked and many lives were lost, there would be an about-face pretty quickly. Nothing quashes complacency like armed thugs streaming through your neighbourhood, eager to kill you and all the people you love.

As an aside (but I feel it's related), large cities like New York and Toronto have been experiencing unsafe streets and crime waves in recent years for what I feel is the same reason. People have been experiencing safety and security for over a generation and they become complacent. Past generations (especially in NYC) experienced terrible eras of massive homicide rates and street crime through the 1970s, 80s and early 1990s. It was only when the people of NYC had enough and decided to take their city back it changed. For twenty years, things improved, and now the new generation takes that peace and security for granted. Humans tend to repeat the same cycles over and over; we never learn.

I do feel a shift in the wind lately, and people who live in these largely Democratic, left-wing, so-called progressive (I call cowardly) cities are realising that if they want to live in peace and security and not have the National Guard and state police in the subway, then they have to support law enforcement. They are, I believe, also now realizing also that you can have all the security in the world, and it doesn't mean anything if you constantly release (with no bail) violent criminals back into society just because you feel it's progressive not to have people in jail. The truth is that jail is progressive. In the not-so-distant past (1962 Canada), people were hanged (executed) for many of the crimes that so many inmates are in for today. 27 states in the US still have the death penalty, and I support it for crimes of murder, rape and terrorism.

This relates to Israel today. They were attacked, murdered, raped and subjected to terrorism on a massive scale. I suspect many left-leaning, peace-loving Israelis changed their views on October 7. This is expected and necessary if one wants to survive. You can only bury your head in the sand for so long. We in the West have no business telling Israel what to do or how to do it. They are fighting for their literal survival. Israel (9 million) is surrounded by over 440 Million Arabs, and even if just one-tenth of the Arabs want to kill the Jewish people, that is too many for Israel to ever be complacent like us.

The media in the West wants us to feel bad for the Palestinians, but I find I cannot. They have repeatedly turned down peace deals and two state agreements over and over for years and years. They have taken literally billions of aid dollars and turned Gaza into an armed camp. They publically state they will do Oct 7 again and again, and this is unacceptable to me. Israel vacated Gaza in August 2005. Gaza gets billions of dollars in aid. They are literally on the Mediterranean, and Gaza could be a paradise, but they are fixated on eradicating the Jews. This is what they live for and are prepared to die for...why? Because Mohammed was denounced as a false prophet by Jewish leaders in Medina almost 1500 years ago. The Palestinains appear to be a people stuck in time and glued to a medieval idea that Israel will one day be solely occupied by Muslims. This will never happen without a third world war and millions of deaths. They know this, but for the sake of their false prophet's ideals they are willing to suffer and die for nothing.

We in the West must recognise this mindset and take steps to guard against it taking root here. I do beleive we in the West have a lot to fight and die for but we will need more than 48% of Democrats (Liberals) and 75% of Republicans (Conservatives) to do it.

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Excellent article and perspective

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A ridicules Jewish Nationalist screed. A puff PR piece parading in falsehoods. Don’t you get it - nobody is listening to you!

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I'll have to pray for you. The amount of hatred in your heart is stunning.

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Agree with those who say this should be widely read, and the interviews from the West Bank should also be widely listened to here. It is hard for me to believe the US is building piers to supply the enemy of our ally in the middle of a war and undermining the ability of our ally to be successful against what is really a common enemy. And to hear the Senate majority leader, on the floor of the Senate, calling essentially for regime change in Israel or else, is unconscionable. Listening to those West Bank interviews, it is pretty clear that there is no negotiating partner for some new 2 state "solution" and I can't see point of our administration pushing for that. Rather, we should be rallying democracies around the world to support what comes after the war, when Israel will need to secure Gaza to prevent the same terror from happening again.

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