This article contains information about the attacks in Israel. For those who wish to avoid recounting the events of the past few days, or have lost friends and family, we recommend you stop here. ————
On the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, Israel was ambushed with a brutal assault from Hamas, a terrorist organization and the governing body of the Gaza strip. In this surprise attack, Hamas, backed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, infiltrated Israel by land, air and sea. This weekend, while Jewish students were supposed to be celebrating one of the most joyous holidays on the Hebrew calendar, Simchat Torah, we were monitoring the news and calling friends and family members to make sure they were alive and safe.
This weekend alone, over 100 Israelis have been taken hostage within Gaza, over 900 murdered and 2600 injured. For context, 900 Israeli deaths are proportional to a massacre of 25,000 Americans. This weekend was the “darkest time in Jewish history since the end of the Holocaust”, causing it to be named the “9/11” and “Pearl Harbor” of the State of Israel. During the past three days, a music festival was raided and participants were killed, tortured, raped and abducted, contributing to 260 of the lives lost that day. Families were held hostage by Hamas terrorists and slaughtered within their own homes. Children watched their parents die. Parents sent their sons and daughters into battle.
This past weekend was one of the most catastrophic events in modern Jewish history: civilian deaths doubled those of the bloodiest day of the Yom Kippur War, three thousand rockets rained onto the country, and civilians were taken hostage by a terrorist organization which has repeatedly called for death to the Jews. This is not an act of “resistance” or “uprising,” as some student organizations have claimed, but one of terrorism.
The crimes against humanity Hamas has committed against the citizens of Israel are innumerable and inconceivable. The politicization of Hamas war crimes, which attempts to justify the murder of our family and friends, makes campus a difficult place to find peace and support for Jewish students. Such devaluation of Jewish life is unacceptable.
In the face of all this horror, we must recognize the beauty in our unity and resilience. All over the globe, Jewish communities and allies are coming together to show support for Israel and Jews worldwide. At UCLA, events have been and will continue to be held to provide safe spaces for bereaved students to grieve and connect, as well as send much-needed supplies to Israel.
Today, the UCLA Jewish community mourns these grave losses to our global Jewish family. Our hearts ache for those affected by this act of terror.
We pray for the safety and well-being of our loved ones.
Am Israel Chai
We share the following prayers for those who wish to pray for Israel.
(Cover image is a student-captured photo of an Israeli flag displayed at the pro-Israel rally on October 10th on Wilshire.)