For years, they trusted the army to defend and inform them. Now many Israelis feel abandoned

by Ethan Kim
Israeli Trust

The enduring trust that Israeli citizens placed in their army to protect and inform them has been shaken to its core. For years, a steadfast social contract existed: Israelis would serve in the military, living in close proximity to enemy borders, while the army would stand as the bulwark of defense.

However, this covenant was shattered on a fateful Saturday when hundreds of Hamas militants managed to breach Israel’s formidable defenses, infiltrating from the Gaza Strip through various means—by air, land, and sea. This audacious rampage resulted in a tragic toll, leaving hundreds dead and a nation renowned for its military prowess stunned and caught off guard.

What added to the shock was the military’s delayed response. As thousands of residents in southern Israel found themselves besieged, their pleas for assistance remained unanswered for agonizing hours. Trapped within their homes and safe rooms, they endured the onslaught of militants who indiscriminately fired bullets, set homes ablaze, and hurled grenades. In their desperation, they turned to social media, journalists, and friends, imploring the army to come to their rescue.

These weekend attacks and the perceived sluggishness of the military’s response have left Israelis with an unsettling feeling of vulnerability and abandonment. Numerous families were left in the dark, uncertain about the fate of their loved ones, wondering whether they had become captives in Gaza. At the peak of the violence, there was a dearth of reliable sources for guidance or information. Although contact centers were eventually established, their focus was predominantly on gathering information from the families rather than providing it.

One family deeply affected by this crisis is that of Jonathan Silver, who has lost contact with six of his relatives. At least three are believed to be held captive in Gaza, including two children taken hostage from their kibbutz, Nir Oz. However, the family has received no updates or information despite their efforts to reach out to various authorities.

Silver expressed his concern, particularly for his aunt, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease and requires medication. Although he is frustrated by the lack of information, he refrains from severe criticism at this time, opting to stand by the army.

In Israel, military service is obligatory for most Jewish men and women. For many citizens, it serves as the adhesive that binds the nation together in a region hostile to its presence. Israel is renowned globally for its technological advancements and intelligence-gathering capabilities. Hence, the notion that a militant group could catch the army by surprise is difficult for Israelis to comprehend.

Merav Leshem Gonen vividly remembers the feeling of helplessness when her daughter called in a state of panic from a music festival that came under attack. Her daughter’s desperate plea for assistance left her with no real answers to provide, except reassurances of love and support. She, like many others, faced the anguish of not having the information or resources needed to guide her loved ones to safety.

Journalist Amir Tibon had a stroke of luck amidst the chaos; his father, a retired general, took it upon himself to rescue Amir and his family, who were holed up in a safe room in Nahal Oz. The elder Tibon, along with a group of commandoes, managed to navigate through firefights with militants and extract his son’s family to safety. However, tragically, more than a dozen others in Nahal Oz did not survive.

Amir Tibon poignantly reflected on the implicit contract between the people and the state: the citizens protect the border, and the state ensures their protection. Yet, on that dark Saturday, many feel that the state of Israel fell short of fulfilling its part of the agreement.

Maayan Zin’s heart-wrenching ordeal unfolded when she received photos from a relative, seemingly depicting her two daughters in captivity. The absence of support from Israeli authorities for families with loved ones held in Gaza has left her and many others distraught and desperate for answers.

In these trying times, as uncertainty grips the nation, one plea echoes through the hearts of countless Israelis: “Just bring my daughters home. Bring everybody home.”

Contributions to this report were made by Josef Federman, a writer for Big Big News, from Jerusalem.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Israeli Trust

What was the nature of the breach in Israeli defenses mentioned in the text?

Hundreds of Hamas militants breached Israel’s defenses from the Gaza Strip through various means—by air, land, and sea. This unprecedented infiltration left hundreds dead and caught the Israeli military off guard.

How did the military respond to the crisis?

The military’s response was delayed, leaving thousands of residents in southern Israel besieged and without assistance for hours. Many turned to social media, journalists, and friends in desperation, seeking help from the army.

What impact did this crisis have on Israeli citizens’ trust in the army?

The crisis shattered the trust that Israeli citizens had placed in their army to protect them. Many now feel vulnerable and abandoned, as the military struggled to respond effectively to the Hamas attack.

Was there a lack of information and support for families affected by the crisis?

Yes, many families had no information about the fate of their loved ones. Contact centers were eventually set up, but their primary focus was on gathering information from families rather than providing it.

How did the Israeli public react to this breach of trust?

Some expressed frustration and disappointment, while others, like Jonathan Silver, refrained from severe criticism, choosing to stand by the army during this challenging time.

More about Israeli Trust

  • Hamas Attack on Israel – Reuters coverage of the Hamas attack on Israel and its impact.
  • Israeli Military – Information about the Israeli military’s capabilities and response.
  • Gaza Strip – Background information on the Gaza Strip and its role in the conflict.
  • Israeli Conscription – Details about compulsory military service in Israel and its significance.

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ConcernedMom October 9, 2023 - 10:39 pm

heartbreaking, those poor families!

NewsBuff777 October 10, 2023 - 9:03 am

military messed up, smh.

HistoryNerd2023 October 10, 2023 - 8:07 pm

surprising twist in Israel’s story.


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