A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

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Getting the facts is critical in understanding conflict with Hamas

Hamas weaponry confiscated and displayed by the Israel Defense Forces, Oct. 15, 2023. Credit: IDF.

The day of Oct. 7th was one that did not play out how I expected. What started off as a normal day for me as Jewish high schooler was flipped on its head when I awoke to the news that Israel was under attack and at war. It took a while for me to assess the gravity of the situation but with the news and graphic online videos of the attack I began to understand the conflict at hand. 

I had spent many years at a summer camp that employed a large number of Israelis who came straight from the army to be a counselor at the camp. So in response, I messaged many of them asking if they were OK. I received messages in return that they were fine but getting ready to go defend their country. 

The war spiraled, as some picked sides, while others stayed firmly in the middle, not taking a stance. As someone who is connected to my Judaism and many people of Israel, I took into account all the facts and concluded that Israel was in the right in this conflict. But taking this position sparked confrontations with people who supported the opposing view. 

I wondered why a stance taken could lead to so much division, for myself and for others. Among many problems that persist in our society, one that stands out is the divide stemming from polarized opinions. That has become evident with acts and threats of violence in the United States directed towards Arabs and Palestinians as well as towards Jews. A typical Jewish person is likely fed content and opinions via social media and their chosen news outlets justifying Israel in the conflict, while a typical Arab or Palestinian is fed content that leads to them standing with Palestine and in extreme circumstances, with Hamas. 

In our society, people are inclined to believe whatever they hear. People continuously choose ignorance and continue to ignore facts. This is demonstrated in the frightening amount of people in the United States who don’t just support Palestine, but support and justify Hamas. 

The narrative that Palestinians were just uprooted from their homes and are entitled to them back is a clear-cut example of stretching the truth. At the end of World War II, after 6 million Jews (over a third of the Jewish population at the time) were killed, the United Nations promised both Israel and Palestine a state. 

Palestinian leaders rejected this solution and refused to recognize Israel as its own state. Israel then was forced to hold its own and carve out alliances with the other Middle East nations. 

On Oct. 7, Palestinians led by the terrorist organization Hamas attacked Israel violently.  They murdered more than 1,000 Jewish civilians and took more than 200 as hostages. 

Since that day, Israel has called on their military forces to retrieve the hostages and do their best to rid the world of Hamas terrorists. Hamas has countered by hiding behind civilians, lying about death totals, bombing their own hospitals and setting up headquarters underneath a hospital. The United States made the logical choice to side with one of its closest ally and the only democracy in the area, which is facing a massive threat of terrorism and is surrounded by countries that have an extensive history of hatred towards them. 

How can people know of this and side with Hamas? The answer is they don’t. People are being fed lies, which they are inclined to agree with, without questioning the validity of what they hear. 

This has then prompted numerous attacks on Jews throughout the United States. Jews today are forced to proceed with caution wherever they go, as any Jewish person among us could be next in line for an anti-Jewish attack. 

For the good of society, opinions need to be presented as opinions and facts need to be presented as facts. When the facts are covered up by ignorance, people can obtain radical opinions based on what they think are facts. When this happens people get hurt, which is evident by the antisemitic attacks on Jews throughout the United States. 

People need the facts before things spiral out of control, as the conflict becomes even more divisive and attention-garnering. The answer to what’s going on in the United States stemming from this war isn’t violence or hatred, it’s understanding, empathy and facts. 

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