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We have witnessed Hamas’ medieval carnage | Column
The consul general of Israel to Florida writes that it is clearer than ever that this is neither a political nor a territorial dispute but a fight between the ultimate evil and good.
 
Sharon Truzman, a survivor of the massacre at the Nova Music Festival in Israel on Oct. 7, recalls the horrors of the attack. She spoke during a news conference Monday organized by the consul general of Israel in Miami, Maor Elbaz-Starinsky, left.
Sharon Truzman, a survivor of the massacre at the Nova Music Festival in Israel on Oct. 7, recalls the horrors of the attack. She spoke during a news conference Monday organized by the consul general of Israel in Miami, Maor Elbaz-Starinsky, left. [ CARL JUSTE | Miami Herald ]
Published Oct. 25, 2023

The Jewish Sabbath is a day of rest, family and prayer. On Oct. 7, bloodthirsty, depraved terrorists from Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad breached the border between Gaza and southern Israel. With a barbaric mindset, more than 2,000 attackers, equipped with maps and explicit kidnapping instructions, murdered over 1,400 people of all ages. The carnage that ensued in Israeli towns and kibbutz agricultural communities is hard to comprehend.

In 2023, medieval and barbaric executions — genocidal — were indiscriminately taking place. Babies and soldiers were beheaded, families were burned alive in their homes, children murdered in front of their parents, parents killed in front of their children, women tortured then raped, and 200 civilians of all ages taken hostage. The Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihadists showed their true intentions with ISIS-style war crimes. This unimaginable human behavior included rampages through homes, looting of goods, tossing hand grenades into shelters full of people, burning people alive and using military-grade weapons against the unarmed. The horrors went on for hours.

Maor Elbaz-Starinsky
Maor Elbaz-Starinsky [ Provided ]

The largest single site of death was the peace-themed Nova Music Festival. Simultaneously as rockets launched from Gaza fell in the area, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihadist ground squads surrounded the festivalgoers on three sides, effectively closing off all escape routes and ambushing hundreds. Terrorists shot the festival attendees as if in a video game. Over 260 young adults were brutally murdered, others raped, wounded and many were taken to Gaza as hostages, their whereabouts unknown.

Chaos, suffering and death were clearly the objective. The terrorists were convinced that brutal murder of Jews would open for them the gates of paradise. This notion comes directly from the explicitly antisemitic agenda of the Hamas charter, which calls for the extermination of Jews. On Oct. 7, this directive was implemented.

This clearly was not a fight for freedom or independence as some would falsely and ridiculously claim. Now it is clearer than ever, this is not a political nor a territorial dispute. This is a fight between the ultimate evil and good.

On the opposite end of the philosophical spectrum from Hamas’ charter is the spirit and ethos of the state of Israel. Jews and Israel are to be a beacon unto nations as Jewish tradition commands us to be charitable and help repair the world. Israeli companies strive to serve and benefit all of humanity through technologies and innovations. In all fields, from health care, medicine to agricultural solutions, Israel and its citizenry aim to make life on this planet better for everyone. Collaborations take place in the Tampa Bay area, through FIBA, the Florida-Israel Business Accelerator. And farther south in 2021, when Israel’s disaster aid and first-response units were among the first foreign groups to arrive and assist with the calamity at the city of Surfside condominium collapse.

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Reaction to Hamas’ murderous rampage here in Florida has been swift. Florida denounces antisemitism here in the United States and abroad. Sadly, the Tampa Bay area, including the University of South Florida, has seen antisemitic incidents rise. We will not let terrorism nor antisemites prevail. We will get to them wherever they are. Jews are not defenseless anymore. Those who side with Hamas have no respect for our shared values. They are part of the problem.

To that end, on the national level, President Joe Biden has shown unwavering support to Israel. And at the state level, Gov. Ron DeSantis is showing that Florida stands with Israel, also providing tremendous aid by flying planes full of necessary supplies to Israel.

The vibrant Tampa Bay area Jewish and non-Jewish communities have come together for Israel in its time of need with tremendous outpouring of support. All this activity is greatly appreciated.

Once again, after the massacre and unspeakable events of Oct. 7, we are reminded Israel is the lone true democracy in the Middle East. Hence hated by extremist groups who are supported by regimes like Iran that do not want a democratic, flourishing society as a neighbor. Unfortunately, this makes peace an elusive dream.

On that note, I will end with a quote from Golda Meir, Israel’s first and only female prime minister, “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

Maor Elbaz-Starinsky is consul general of Israel to Florida.