Discover more from Bastiat's Window
Dispatches from a Friend in Israel
Thoughts from Professor Dafna Eylon
NOTE: Bastiat’s Window usually focuses on economics, health, science, ethics, and culture. After a few more posts on the Middle East, we’ll return to those topics. On October 25th, I offered to donate $1,000 of paid subscriber revenues to the American Friends of Magen David Adom (MDA=Israel’s Red Cross) along with a $500 match from my own pocket; that $1,500 has now been sent. Until December 1, 50% of subscription revenues will go to MDA. — Bob Graboyes
FOREWORD (by Bob Graboyes)
My great friend, Dafna Eylon currently splits her time between Israel and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, working as President of Eylon Associates and as faculty in Executive Education at the Aresty Institute for Executive Education at Wharton (UPenn) and at Reichman University Executive Education (in Israel). Between 2001 and 2007, Dafna and I were both faculty members at the Robins School of Business at the University of Richmond (in Richmond, Virginia). I taught economics, and she was a chaired professor. Her full biographical details can be found on LinkedIn and at the SIFMA website.
Dafna is an intensely compassionate humanitarian—almost intimidating in her fervor for a good life for both the Jews and Arabs of Israel and Palestine. Recently, I was privileged to receive some dispatches that she had sent to friends and family, describing the horrors and the hopes in Israel today. She kindly agreed to allow Bastiat’s Window to publish versions of those disptches. Here they are, combined and lightly edited for continuity, with numbers updated as they were written over the span of the last few weeks.
My sincere gratitude goes to Dafna for making this post possible.
DISPATCHES FROM ISRAEL (by Dafna Eylon)
Dear Friends and Family,
Thank you, thank you, thank you for thinking of us—it means a lot. I am on complete overwhelm with volunteering, preparing our shelter, going to funerals, trying to manage my own emotions, and more.
The Magnitude of October 7th
To truly understand the scope and horror of October 7th, when compared to the United States we would be looking at over 4 million rockets, more than 300,000 injured, over 52,000 murdered, and 9,000 kidnapped—all in ONE day! To see the impact of this massacre in any country in the world, click here.
It is beyond comprehension. The death toll of the horrific massacre of October 7th by Hamas is approximately 17 times the proportional magnitude of 9/11. Today, a neighbor who is part of the teams who go to help in the aftermath of all disasters, including terror attacks, shared that in all his years he has never seen anything like this. I will not describe the horrors, as you can find them online, but as many of you have asked, will share how it has touched us personally. Sadly, we know it is not the end.
Yesterday my daughter was informed that her workmate was among the hundreds of young people who were hunted down and brutally slaughtered during the Peace Music Festival. My riding buddy’s mother, an American, is among the missing either taken hostage into Gaza or her body butchered to the point it cannot be identified yet (due to so many bodies being in this horrific condition). All three of my children have lost classmates. Several of our friends and neighbors have lost children. And all these deaths in less than 24 hours.
The Impact on Everyday Life
On a personal level, not bowing to terror is as basic as adjusting how we walk our dog, Baloo, who can no longer stay indoors. Our new route goes from shelter to shelter so we can run to the nearest one when sirens go off. But it’s much, much more. Now, despite feeling like we have no words left and no air to breathe, we must rise from the ashes, and, like most people in Israel, I also decided to maintain all my work commitments as part of signaling to the world that we will not be defeated by terror. I am encouraged that my counterparts abroad also choose to stand against terror and continue working together, despite the uncertainties of the current situation.
In addition, I have thrown myself into working for the release of the 240 hostages held in Gaza by Hamas. I firmly believe that the only way they will be released is through strong international pressure. To my American friends, please consider contacting your senators and representatives, asking for the release of all hostages taken by Hamas from their homes. To easily find your members of Congress go to: OneMinADay.com. (See the graphic below.) Right now, the hostages are completely abandoned, as even the Red Cross is not allowed to see them. No one—perhaps not even Hamas—knows how many of them are still alive.
I struggle to understand why people are not asking themselves how they can align themselves with Hamas, who kills LGBTQ+ folks—and not to mention which is fully aligned with Iran. So, even for folks who are Pro-Palestinian, or those at the extreme who hate Israel—don’t they find it odd that they are supporting a group who would gladly eradicate them? A group that opposes freedom of speech and equal rights for women? A group that, together with Iran, opposes the West and justifies the use of extreme violence to do so? And for those who are saying, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free,” it’s clear they may not fully understand they are not calling for a Free Palestine, but also calling for the annihilation of over 9 million Israelis, and they are actively supporting Hamas by giving them “air cover” for the horrific atrocities they committed on Saturday, October 7th.
One can be both pro-Palestinian and anti-Hamas. However, being pro-Hamas is not being pro-Palestinian. Being pro-Hamas means you are supporting their extreme view of a future where none of us will be welcomed. And Hamas’s exterminationist founding documents make no distinction between "Israelis,” “Zionists,” and “Jews;” nor do they limit their ambitions to the Mideast.
It is not coincidental that Hamas launched its massacre right before Israel and Saudi Arabia were moving toward diplomatic relations and before a likely change of government in Israel. Hamas has no interest in normalizing relations with Israel, so Saudi-Israeli friendship and a new, more centrist, government in Israel do not work in Hamas’s favor.
October 7th has Changed Us Forever
I am in awe of my 19-year-old daughter Lia, currently serving her compulsory military duty, who despite spending days sorting through the horrific lists of thousands of injured, missing, dead, and hijacked, has maintained her sanity and humanity. In just one day, Lia witnessed one of her officers (a 21-year-old) break down when she discovered her brother’s name among the murdered, and also tried to console a grown man who was overcome while working on the many reports of how victims were hunted, brutalized, raped, and gouged.
As her mother, I am devastated by what she has seen and heard while at the same time understand we are one of the lucky families. On the morning of October 7th, nothing mattered to the murderers—not age or political views. The slaughter took place in several left-leaning kibbutzim, home to some of the hostages, who for years helped many Palestinians coming to Israel for medical attention.
Over half a million Israelis have been forced from the carnage of their homes during the massacre and relentless barrage of rockets from both the south and the north. We are lucky and live in a part of Israel that is still relatively safe and, on average, “only” dash to our bomb shelter a couple times a day. Since October 7th, we are under constant attack. If it were not for the “Iron Dome” that Israel developed and deployed, and for the shelters throughout the country, we would be unable to live, let alone function. The massacre October 7th was an act of war, and in the six weeks since, Hamas has been relentless in continuing its attacks on Israel, every single day!
Our northern border with Lebanon is becoming more active. Biden spoke forcefully, but right now, the boots on the ground are our children, family members, and friends. We continue to hear of more people we know who have lost loved ones. And the tension over Hezbollah’s escalation on the northern border is intense and frightening.
The Passage of Weeks
It is now six weeks since, in a matter of a few hours, 1,200 people were brutally murdered by Hamas. Many were first maimed, raped, and forced to watch other family members violated, tortured, and killed before they, too, were executed. Even family pets received the same treatment. Thousands of people were injured, many still in hospitals. 240 hostages were taken—from at least 40 nationalities—including babies, children, the elderly, injured, and sick. One can only imagine how they are being treated, as Hamas is blocking visits even from the Red Cross.
Despite intense negotiations, Hamas has released only four hostages. I rejoice with their family but have wondered how did Hamas decide whom to release? My guess is that (a) they were Americans; (b) they were kept in good shape, and (c) they have additional family members who are held hostages in Gaza. This means they were warned that to save their loved ones still held hostages from torture and death, they can only share the script Hamas prescribed.
I am sure that if it were you or I whose family was hijacked, we would hope others would be doing all they can to bring our loved ones back home alive. And, the sooner they are back, the sooner Israel and Gaza will find their way to a ceasefire, thus decreasing the threat of a larger war. Returning the hostages may be the key to closing the Pandora’s Box Hamas opened onto the world.
There are many stories about the 240 hostages and they can be found here, where you can also donate to the volunteer organization supporting the families of the victims and hostages. This organization is run 100% by volunteers, working 24/7, with no overhead, as they are using donated office space. Every dollar counts.
Update on Friend’s Mother
I am heartbroken to update that my friend’s mother, an American, has been identified as dead. It took over a week for the family to be notified due to the enormity of the number of casualties, as well as the fact that many bodies were mutilated beyond recognition. Even dental records were not enough to identify them, and archaeologists from around the world needed to be brought in. This last part was particularly hard for me, and between the sirens, the increasing tension of Hezbollah escalating, and my lack of ability to cope with the heinous barbarity of the massacre, I continue to struggle to sleep.
Hamas’s Abuse of Palestinians
In no way did the Hamas October 7th massacre support the people living in Gaza and free them from Israel. Israel has not ruled Gaza since 2005. Hamas has been in power there since 2006 and yet, with all the international funds and support Gaza received, the population there is poorer than before, while Hamas has only grown stronger. When Hamas planned the massacre, they made sure what they did would be so heinous that it would draw a strong response from Israel and other parts of the western world, thereby endangering the people of Gaza that Hamas is supposedly protecting. (Instructions to that extent were found on the bodies and on captured terrorists)
For days, Hamas leaders urged their civilians to ignore Israel’s calls to evacuate to the southern part of Gaza, without offering them any option to shelter in Hamas’s tunnels. At the same time, they have continued to fire rockets into Israel, even though over 20% of these rockets misfire and land on their own civilians, killing countless numbers. Not to mention, Hamas blocks civilians from trying to escape South.
Only a few days ago, on October 17th, a rocket intended for Israel misfired and hit a hospital. Hamas immediately blamed Israel, claiming 500 were killed. This despite the fact that their own operatives reported the blast came from nearby and was most likely launched by Islamic Jihad. Israel denied it had bombed the hospital, and multiple independent sources (including some from within Gaza) proved the hospital was indeed hit from within Gaza. (Update: since this was written, multiple sources have concurred the hospital was hit by a rocket fired from within the Gaza Strip.)
We are all aware of the desperate conditions of most of the population (excluding Hamas leaders); however, many are not aware of the vast and sophisticated weapons Hamas amassed at the expense of international funds and support meant for the citizens of Gaza. As an example, Gaza has its own water sources, but a significant amount of the pipes meant for the water infrastructure has been confiscated for building rockets. As long as Hamas is in power, not only will Israel risk another October 7th (as Hamas leaders have promised) and the never-ending rockets into Israeli towns and cities, but the civilians of Gaza will be forced to live under the rule of terror, similar to the rule of ISIS, with no hope for a better economic future and a safer home. Hamas has ruled Gaza since 2006, has received billions of dollars in international aid, yet has done little to develop the well-being of its population. Instead, its focus is on building its own military and political power.
It’s Not Just about Israel
How do we make sure that Hamas does not repeat October 7th—and not only in Israel. Hamas is very clear that its goal is to annihilate Israel and the rest of the Jews around the world. Now, the entire world knows they believe the means justify this murderous end—including radical violence and false propaganda. Hamas proudly shared footage of their terrible actions on October 7th. They have since deleted or denied their own footage in order to portray a more humane image. Hamas claims it represents the people, and they present themselves as the humanitarian administrators of Gaza’s civilian population. Yet, as mentioned, they have only held back the development of Gaza.
Hamas also violently opposes LGBTQ+ and have clear, backward views regarding the role of women. Unfortunately, those who hold these extreme fundamentalist views (and I am confident they do not represent the majority of Muslims) believe that the Christians are also “infidels” and will be the next group that needs to be targeted. The October 7th massacre showed the result of what unrestrained radical violence can do in a matter of a few hours. Imagine if these attacks took place concurrently in multiple countries.
Speak out on all of these issues. Share the message relentlessly, including with your elected officials. The stronger the show of strength and support from across the world, the less likely other terrorist organizations will copy this unprecedented barbaric tactic. Lives are lost in wars; however targeting and torturing old people, babies, and innocents is not war—it is brutal massacre.
Do all you can to never let this happen again. If we fail in that endeavor, then the only question will be when the same thing happens in the United States, England, France, Spain, and elsewhere. Please don’t wait and contact your representatives asking them to do what they can to reduce the chances of these horrors spreading to other countries. Again, for Americans, the contact information for members of Congress can be found at https://oneminaday.com/.
Reasons for Hope
These are scary times, so therefore, it’s critical that we remember that each one of us is important and can make a difference in our own spheres of influence. After October 7th, Israelis of all walks of life and religions came together, including incredible acts of heroism regardless of religion or background. I am filled with admiration and hope when I read about the incredible heroes from everywhere: Bedouin towns, Druze villages, Kibbutzim, small towns and big cities, from all over Israel—all coming together to fight a force that believes the end justifies the means. Below are links to two inspiring stories of everyday heroes who truly are making a difference—some anonymously.
The first story is about an Israeli-Arab store that was destroyed by its neighbors after the owners donated to the children of October 7th. Then, via crowdsourcing, citizens raised the funds for him to rebuild.
The second story is about Muslims and Jews who are finding ways to connect despite the pain on both sides.
These stories remind us that although there are people who value their beliefs more than humanity, there are also those who believe in a future where we can live together. I remind myself of this daily as, since the massacre, I have found myself struggling to regain my trust in humanity. However, your messages and support are so important, helpful, and so very appreciated by the entire family. I cannot thank you enough!
— Dafna Eylon
AFTERWORD (by Bob Graboyes)
Below are two images, titled “Whom They Support” and “What They Support,” and I’m not certain which is more horrifying.
Let’s begin with “WHAT THEY SUPPORT.”
On the right-hand side, we see two images. First is an unrecognizable mass of charcoal. Second is what pathologists discovered when they did a CT scan of the mass. Only with technology can one realize that this was two humans—an adult and a child—who were bound together by Hamas terrorists. One sees two spinal columns, ribs, and other bones, surrounded by demonic ligatures. The caption notes that, “The pair were likely embracing as they burned.”
Journalist Aaron Poris took this and other photos for The Media Line, thereby providing ghastly imagery for his article, “Evidence on Display at Israel’s Forensic Pathology Center Confirms Hamas’ Atrocities.” When I asked Aaron for permission to use the photo, he wanted to find out whether there was any further news on this particular atrocity. After speaking with his editors and with Dr. Chen Kugel from the Israel Forensic Pathology Lab, he offered the following updates:
“First, Dr. Kugel told me that we now know for certain that the charred remains are of two females—one adult woman, and one girl of around 10 years old.
WE STILL DO NOT KNOW their relation to one another. I asked specifically if they are familial and Kugel said this is not yet clear. They may be related, they may not be. They could be neighbors, friends, mother/daughter, sisters, or a babysitter and her ward, for all we know at this time.”
Now, on to “WHOM THEY SUPPORT.”
The October Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll has 38 graphics related to Hamas and Israel. The one shown here shows that only 16% of Americans side with Hamas in its war against Israel. But—and this is the terrifying part of the graphic—48% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 support Hamas over Israel. Note that the question specifically asks about support for Hamas—not about support for Palestinians.
From the media and from personal conversations, I hear endless stories of young Americans beaming with enthusiasm over Hamas and its onslaught of October 7. As we will discuss in an upcoming Bastiat’s Window post, the actual history of Hamas is as horrid as are those charred human remains—and that history is barely appreciated in the West. Again, the topic here is Hamas, not Palestinians. Here’s the short version of what we will discuss soon:
Hamas is the local branch of an organization whose predecessor group originated during World War II and was directly supported, financially and logistically, by the Nazi Regime. The goal of that organization was to assist in exterminating Jews living across the Arab World. Since its inception, Hamas’s goal, stated clearly in its charter, has been the death of every Jew in every part of the world. Their verbiage makes no distinction between Israelis, Zionists, and Jews in general. Their writings make clear that their ambition is to carry this genocidal mission to all countries of the world. Israel is just a start.
Hamas has never been shy about saying all of this, but a great many Westerners are extraordinarily shy about listening to those clearly stated goals. This history has always been out there, scattered about, for any who cared to listen. But last year, it was brilliantly and methodically laid out by David Patterson, the Hillel Feinberg Chair in Holocaust Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas. In 2022, Cambridge University Press published Patterson’s book, Judaism, Antisemitism, and Holocaust: Making the Connections. The Hitler-to-Hamas organizational pedigree is laid out in great detail in Patterson’s chapter on “Islamic Jihadism: The Legacy of Nazi Antisemitism.” The forthcoming Bastiat’s Window post will review that history.
KADDISH FOR THE FOURTEEN HUNDRED
Here is a piece of music I composed to honor the lives stolen on October 7th. As usual, best listened to through headphones. — Bob Graboyes