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Monday, May 13, 2024 

From Memorial Day to Independence Day, 2024

For Memorial Day, police in Israel put on display several armored vehicles that were destroyed when the Hamas attacked on October 7, 2023:
The Israeli police commander inspected the twisted pieces of metal and shards of broken glass in two charred armored vehicles.

“It is like an arrow to the heart,”
Eyal Reon, head of the Israel Police Operations Unit, told JNS at the Israeli police academy in the central Israeli city of Beit Shemesh. “It brings me right back to the hours of that horrible day.”

The demolished vehicles, which police officers used to try to repel the Hamas attack on a borderline Israeli kibbutz during the Oct. 7 massacre, arrived at the police academy on Sunday, ahead of Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Memorial Day.

Some of the hundreds of Hamas terrorists, who burst into Kibbutz Be’eri on Oct. 7, shot the armored vehicles with gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades, killing nine of the 10 people who were inside the vehicles. That included eight police officers and a kibbutz member.

The bodies in the vehicles were so badly destroyed that they could not be identified initially
, according to Nadav Salame, the deputy commander of the Israel Police unit who was charged with overseeing the force as it went into the kibbutz.

In 33 years on the police force, including 18 in the police’s national enforcement unit, Salame had never seen anything like what he saw on Oct. 7.

“This brings me back to the images of that day,”
he told JNS. “Each time you get another blow. It is hard to grasp the enormity of the loss.” [...]

The armored vehicles are the latest to testify to Israel’s past battles. Others from the 1948 War of Independence line the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway.

“Our task is to preserve the stories of heroism and dedication of our fallen officer and comrades,”
according to Israel Police chief Shlomi Chetrit, who heads the history and heritage branch.
Now, with Independence Day taking place, Ruthie Blum's written about lessons that should've been learned:
One lesson Israelis should have internalized by now is that things can always get worse. As we moved on Monday night from mourning to celebration—when Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism abruptly transitioned into Independence Day—we’d have done well to remember what we were complaining about last year at this time.

In the wake of the Oct. 7 massacre, it’s impossible to believe that Israelis of all walks of life were treating judicial reform like a matter of life and death. Though it’s an issue that warrants serious debate under normal circumstances (whatever that means in the ever-besieged Jewish state), retrospect has a way of rendering previous concerns ridiculous.

While duking it out over the selection of judges and the power of the Supreme Court, Hamas was deep in the throes of the genocidal plan it would carry out a mere few months later. Breaking down the border fence, the Iranian-backed terrorists, joined by gleeful Gazan civilians, committed atrocities impossible for any human being with half a soul to fathom

Initially, the shock and horror of the that Black Sabbath—families snuffed out; babies burned; women and girls raped; young men beheaded; bodies left mutilated beyond recognition; and 250 people of all ages violently abducted to tunnel dungeons in Gaza—brought the nation together in grief and anger.

How, we asked, could the authorities have allowed this to happen? Where was the attention of the security services and government while Hamas was carefully plotting and training for its mass assault? Why did it take the Israel Defense Forces hours upon hours to come to the rescue of the victims, so many of whom perished while waiting

Our shared pain at the carnage, and common conviction that Hamas had to be defeated once and for all, soon became the source of a split. Given the degree of the trauma and character of Israeli discourse, the schism was inevitable.

This is literally and figuratively a crying shame. We’re a country at war on multiple fronts, desperate to secure the release of the remaining 132 hostages in the hands of Hamas

That we can’t afford the luxury of political discord at this juncture should be as obvious to us as it is to the Oct. 7 massacre mastermind, Yahya Sinwar, and his patrons in Tehran. But we’re the same stiff-necked people we’ve always been; and even more anxiety-ridden.

Such a state of affairs makes marking Israel’s 76th birthday with any gusto especially difficult. After all, cheering while our friends and family members are in Gaza—either wasting away as hostages or risking their lives in uniform—doesn’t seem appropriate.

On the other hand, despondency isn’t conducive to victory. Nor is pessimism about the future beneficial.
Well we will have to prove we can hold certain figures in history responsible for laying the groundswork for such a horror story to occur. Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, Ariel Sharon, Yossi Sarid, Shulamit Aloni, in example. And let's not forget terrorist figures like Yasir Arafat, who was allowed via the Oslo accords to enter and lay jihadist framework for destroying the country. Those are topics that can't be overlooked in the long run.

And of course, there's the refusal of certain recent figures in the army to take the warnings of observers seriously, with the worst part being the nasty way a senior figure spoke to the Cassandra who tried to warn what was seen brewing in the distance. Some of the IDF officials who turned deaf ears and blind eyes have announced their resignations. But no doubt, there are victims and witnesses who'll say they should be in prison and definitely ostracized for what they enabled.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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