It is disheartening to observe a situation where people, including myself as a rabbi, have had to confront abusive family dynamics. This pattern tends to follow a troubling course, often involving a physically abusive husband who subjects his wife to violent beatings, often due to issues like alcoholism or addiction. In some instances, the abused spouse gathers the courage to seek help, whether by reporting the abuse to the authorities or by leaving the relationship. However, a perplexing dynamic often emerges when the abuser temporarily eases the physical abuse, leading the victim to believe that things are improving. Against the advice of friends and professionals, the abused person decides to stay, convinced that the abuser has truly changed. Sadly, this pattern tends to repeat itself over time, and the victim remains ensnared in the cycle of abuse.
This pattern resembles the dynamics playing out on the global stage today. The world, particularly America, seems to have assumed the role of an abused partner at the hands of terrorist groups like Hamas. Reports have emerged indicating that Hamas is releasing some of the hostages they previously took, portraying it as a “demonstration” of their commitment to peace and reasonableness. Their supporters argue that Israel is the unreasonable party, accusing them of seeking to destroy a victimized Hamas and Palestinian population that aspires to coexist in freedom. Consequently, they paint Israel as the aggressor and a warmonger, even suggesting that Israel targets children.
The world, including the United States, is unfortunately going along with this irrational narrative, treating Hamas’s hostage release as a compassionate gesture that should be met with negotiations for a ceasefire from Israel’s side. But this perspective is far from the truth.
Hamas is undeniably evil, embodying the modern-day incarnation of Amalek. The deliberate targeting of the weak, children, and civilians places them beyond the moral pale. Forgiveness of such actions only perpetuates abuse, a fact recognized in cases of domestic abuse or other violent crimes. Studies indicate that many abusers repeat their offenses, making it imperative not to let down one’s guard.
The terrorist attacks on October 7 were a stark reminder of Hamas’s evil nature. Their admission of targeting the weak, killing innocent civilians, and their willingness to commit unspeakable acts of violence emphasize their deeply malevolent intent. Forgiving such acts is out of the question.
In the wake of these horrors, some, like a victim of domestic abuse returning to an abusive partner, wish to resume negotiations and push for a ceasefire with Hamas. However, we must not ignore the fact that Hamas themselves admit they have no interest in a two-state solution. Their ultimate goal remains the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people.
The argument over the specific number of victims should not divert our focus from the brutal reality – Hamas has crossed a line that demands unwavering condemnation. The international community must recognize the atrocities they committed against innocent civilians and refuse to negotiate until Hamas is unequivocally defeated. Anything less would compromise the memory of the victims and forget the crimes against humanity that Hamas perpetrated.
We must confront the existence of evil in the world. Hamas embodies that evil today, and it must be obliterated. Negotiating or agreeing to a ceasefire without the complete destruction of this evil is unacceptable. Let us not forget the horrors of October 7, and may we stand firm against the perpetrators of evil, defending what is right, even when it is painful.