President Isaac Herzog on Sunday displayed an Arabic-language version of Adolf Hitler’s autobiographical manifesto “Mein Kampf” that he said was found in a children’s room used as a base by terrorists in the northern Gaza Strip.
Herzog held up a copy of the Nazi leader’s book during a video interview with the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg and said it showed the nature of the hatred that Israel is fighting against in its campaign to destroy Hamas following the terror group’s shock onslaught last month.
“This is Adolf Hitler’s book, ‘Mein Kampf,’ translated into Arabic,” he declared. “This is the book that led to the Holocaust and the book that led to World War II.”
Herzog said the book was found a few days earlier on the body of a Hamas gunman in a child’s bedroom, “which became a base used for terrorist activities by the terrorist organization Hamas.”
“The terrorist wrote notes, marked the sections, and studied again and again the ideology of Adolf Hitler to hate the Jews, to kill the Jews, to burn and slaughter Jews wherever they are,” he said. “This is the real war we are facing.”
On October 7, he said, “our world was shattered. Many of our beliefs and that fact that we can live side by side with Palestinian neighbors were shattered.”
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Herzog recalled that his father was a high-ranking British Army officer who had fought to liberate Belgium and the Netherlands. Noting that Saturday was Armistice Day, Britain’s memorial day for fallen soldiers, he said that those who participated in a controversial huge pro-Palestinian rally held in London the same day were, “by omitting to understand what Hamas ideology is,” deliberately or unwittingly “supporting this kind of ideology [that of Mein Kampf].”
Israel is battling terror groups in the Gaza Strip in the wake of the devastating onslaught, in which terrorists killed over 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and took at least 240 as hostages. Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas and remove it from power in the enclave; it says it is striving to reduce civilian casualties but accuses Hamas of using Gazans as human shields by embedding its weaponry and military resources in civilian areas. It has provided evidence of rocket launches from civilian areas and Hamas tunnels under residential buildings and says the terror group has a major command center underneath Gaza’s biggest medical center, Shifa Hospital.
Kuenssberg quizzed Herzog about the situation in the Gaza Strip as Israel pressed on with its offensive that, by Sunday, put the IDF close to Shifa. The IDF said that it was asked by staff at Shifa Hospital to help enable the transfer of babies from the pediatric department to a safer hospital.
“There is a lot of spin by Hamas,” the president responded. “There is electricity in Shifa, everything is operating. We’re speaking to the managers. We haven’t gone into Shifa where, unfortunately, underneath Shifa, there is a huge, huge terror base, actually the headquarters, the headquarters of the Hamas ISIS operations is right there under Shifa.”
“Now exactly what are we supposed to do? Leave it as is and then in a few years’ time go again through the same motions — and you will say it’s disproportionate and we will have civilians being killed? So we are calling on all of those uninvolved to go out to another hospital nearby, and we’re coordinating it very delicately with all forces around that place.”
As for Palestinians who have not yet heeded Israel’s calls to evacuate from the northern Gaza Strip to the relatively safer south, Herzog said, “Hamas is stopping them.”
He said Hamas’s “ISIS-Hitler ideology” must be eradicated to enable peace in the Middle East. Terror, he said, is derailing efforts for peace and normalization with Arab states.
Hitler wrote “Mein Kampf,” a rant against Jews and communists, while in prison in 1923 following his attempted coup in Munich. One of the world’s most notorious books, it laid out the ideological foundations for National Socialism including its embrace of violence and anti-Semitism.
According to a statement from Herzog’s office, the book was among the personal belongings of one of the terrorists “and included notes in the margins, highlighted sections, and annotated post-it notes.”
“This discovery testifies to the sources of inspiration of the terrorist organization Hamas and proves once again that all its actions have one goal — the destruction of Jews,” it said.
“The civilian home had included an explosives laboratory, and represented further proof of Hamas’s terrorist activity in the heart of the civilian population in Gaza,” the statement said.
Israel’s intense aerial and ground offensive targeting Hamas infrastructure has killed over 11,000 people, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza. The figure cannot be verified independently and is believed to include members of terror groups along with civilians killed by misfired Palestinian rockets. Hamas has been accused of artificially inflating the death toll.
Aid groups in Gaza, where Hamas has ruled since seizing power in 2007, report there is an acute humanitarian crisis with shortages of food, water, medical supplies, and fuel. The Israel Defense Forces says the levels of humanitarian assistance being supplied to Gaza were well above the minimum levels required by international law, and that the humanitarian situation is being constantly reviewed.
Israel accuses Hamas of stockpiling resources for its own military use rather than distributing them to the population.