I do not watch the news. It was a decision I made early on- in fact, it is just maintaining a habit. I never, ever watch the TV news.  I read everything. And listen to podcasts. But I do not see those images you see on your news twice a day.  I have learned that the network news is about ratings and so, to keep high ratings, titillating stories that may or may not yet be proven correct get reported.  Alot of “allegedly” and “it has been reported but unverifieds” So no thank you.
Maybe then,  I am out of the loop, living on another planet and perhaps out of touch. A few days ago I was reading tons of articles about how Gaza is on the verge of a mass starvation situation. Blinken just said that “100% of the Gazan population is at severe levels of food insecurity.” I do not see data to back this up here, but maybe I am the one who is willfully ignorant?  Here is a WSJ article that says half of Gazans are starving. But here is another article, from the New Yorker  from TWO MONTHS before that, that says 90% of Gazans are starving. These are wildly different statistics two months apart.  And that implies it is getting better, not worse. So how does Blinken explain 100%?
I also see images that look like Gaza is the moon- with nothing left. I think I do need to clearly lay out something right now. At the beginning of this war, Israel made a lot of mistakes, and Israel is already  admitting this. We bombed buildings, and tunnels, and we used large quantities of firepower. Because of this, most of northern Gaza is a wasteland. What the IDF is doing now,  is totally different. We are smarter. There are much fewer civilian losses, despite what you hear, and much less destruction. This is a war unlike any other. We are learning, and we made mistakes. And sadly, those mistakes came at the cost of the enemy’s civilian population. Rafah will NOT end up looking like northern Gaza. There will NOT be the same civilian losses, nor the same structural losses. The IDF has a much better grasp of how to fight this war now. And also, as a general reminder, the ratio of civilian losses to combatants in this war is much lower than other wars elsewhere. And just so you can see how unreliable the news is, here is a BBC article  from January stating that at least HALF of all of Gaza’s buildings have been destroyed, and here is another article, from a few days ago, from an ARABIC news source that says 35% of Gazas buildings have been destroyed. So how 50% went to 35% another month into the war is beyond me. But this is the sort of mistrust I have of the media.

I have always felt that Israel will tighten the screws on Hamas in myriads of ways, but we would never let an entire population starve. And frankly, I do still believe this. I do not think that starving the Palestinians is a strategy of our government. I do know that we are getting very little cooperation from the UN and UNRWA.  I do know that there are armed gangs stealing humanitarian aid. I also know that there are places where there are markets and plenty of food, (Rafah) but Northern Gaza has much worse issues with distribution. Read this. I woke to this article this morning. I read  conflicting things. But at the end of the day, I guess I still trust Israel. We do not lie about things like this. At least not that I know of. And we have had to defend ourselves for  all sorts of lies and things blamed on Israel that turned out to not be true. So I am reading. And waiting. I will also just suggest here, that this is why a Palestinian state is not possible yet. I honestly believe, that were this us, and the tables were turned, we would have created a civilian mechanism for distribution- the Gazans could have easily said, ok- give the aid to us,  we will supervise this, and then said “families with last name letters A-G will pick up aid at this location…” But this is a population that has had nothing but abuse from the ruling clans and powers that be for decades. They only know that if they do not take and grab, they won’t get. It will get siphoned off by the ruling elite and then resold to them at three times the price. It is a self-made disaster  for which (again) Israel pays the price.
Heer the  IDF says there is no famine now and there will not be. This article, which you should read, says there is no limit to the amount of aid that can go into Gaza. I am remembering as far back as several months ago, that many NGOs were screaming that famine and starvation were imminent.  We know why Israel would restrict cooking fuel and gas, because Hamas was using it for sinister things. But I do not really know what to believe anymore. I see both posts on “X” of abundant markets and Iftar fasts being broken with tables laden with food and at the same time children digging in the dirt for mallow. And perhaps both are true and then how do I reconcile that some people in Gaza have plenty and some are actually starving? I do not believe the pictures of skeletal children which are being posted. They are abusing these disease ridden kids and manipulating the media. And that is the other thing that everyone needs to stay aware of. There are no foreign,objective journalists in Gaza. It is a bad war zone and neither the Israeli army nor Hamas can ensure the safety of these journalists. So anything coming out of Gaza, photograph wise, story wise, is given to the world from people living there. And if you are Gazan, then you cannot report the real truth even if you want to.
I also read and saw horrible things about the IDF raid on Shifa hospital, where, just to get our cards straight, it is  still a war crime for Hamas to fight and use the hospital- but that is exactly what Hamas has done again. The IDF however, said they are providing food and water  to the civilians sheltering in the hospital and the IDF brought in generators for the hospital’s ER . Read this. But no one is hearing that story. And to make this war crime worse, I read this: “He says there is still a group of terror operatives holed up in Shifa’s emergency room, and the IDF is working to evacuate civilians from the area first before battling them.–“
“Terrorists holed up in the Hospital’s Emergency room.”  And you and I both know the story will be spun that Israel is preventing civilians from accessing the emergency room at the hospital.
It feels to me, that  at this point, no matter what we do, it is not enough, it is covered up, it is misconstrued, or manipulated. My good friend Professor Sylvia Barak Fishman wrote this amazing piece on bearing false witness today and what that looks like in this war.
One by one, Israel is finding each of the Hamas masterminds and heads of divisions. It is slow going. We have heard very little about Sinwar these days, nothing about him, nor about Mohammad Deif. Here is a very interesting article about Sinwar. Gives you a peek into how he thinks.
We have some very mixed signals coming out of America.  Attached at the bottom is a NYSun article about whether or not Israel should be listening to the US when they so badly botched Afghanistan.   This is an excellent article about the sort of bind the Biden administration is putting Israel in, and how the pressure put on the Biden administration is from folks who believe that October 7 was justified.. and this article that says all the West has to do is to NOT save Hamas… and how that might not be possible. Here is a WSJ article about the Democrats turning on Israel.  The latest “Call me Back” podcast has a very good interview with Ron Dermer, who is going to Washington DC next week to negotiate. This is a very interesting article about Shumer’s speech and what it feels like and means to American Jews. And by the way, the last few podcasts of “Call me Back” are very worthwhile listening.
I also just want to go back to the willful acqueince of the West to the facts and figures provided by Hamas. So we know The Gazan Health Ministry is simply an arm of Hamas. In fact, there is no independent anything in Gaza, it is all under the finger of Hamas. So all figures are suspect. But this war has one of the lowest civilian to combatant death ratios and NO ONE is talking about that- instead, even President Biden is whipping out ‘30,000 killed” figures, which we cannot be certain of, when we know over 13,000 of them are terrorists. It feels very duplicitous to me. This is a must-must read article about the rot inside Human Rights establishments… Please read it.
And here is something else you may not know, the Red Cross is complicit in rewarding terror. Read this.
I found this video something that maybe you might find useful for people who know very little about this conflict except for what they see on the news.
This is a short half hour interview with our daughter Dena… talking about what she and her little family have been through. In listening to this, you can now multiply this by 3099- which is how many wounded soldiers we have here today.

This is something. you will not hear on your evening news, and this is the stuff that is keeping Israelis awake at night. Imagine, after all this, in this war, that somewhere north of here- in Israel proper, you hear this at night, under your bed.
And now for something that really messed with my head. A friend of mine and I founded the Jerusalem branch of an international network of women in the arts. It is called Saloon.There are chapters all over Europe, and also South Africa and Montreal. Last Wednesday, we hosted an evening for a new member. A young, Israel woman, working under the radar with Gazan creatives. So far they have made two videos. (well before the war) One of the Gazans, who is the main activist and person who connects the Israelis with the Palestinians, was arrested by Hamas and spent half a year in prison. He is currently in Cairo, waiting out the war with some of his family- the rest are in Rafah. So after viewing the videos we had a zoom call with this Gazan. He was articulate. He was sad. He spoke over and over again of how many Gazans hate Hamas, but have no control over their lives. He spoke about the power of art and creativity and music and dance to bridge wide gulfs between people. He spoke of the massive destruction of Gaza. And I left feeling horrible. Here- speaking to me from hundreds of kilometers away, was a Palestinian who seemed to see things clearly, and believed in working with Israelis. And Instead of hopeful I felt hopeless.
And here is a moving portrait of  Michal Lubinov. She delivered a healthy baby boy and… her husband is still being held hostage by Hamas.
I have sent this once before, but it is worth re-seeing… it is four months old and who knew it would still be relevant? Over 100 locations around the world participated.
So now, to end on a lighter note, here are some fun Purim pics… of grandkids and kids.
We take Purim very seriously…
Shabbat Shalom.
Purim Sameach.