Gantz: The same heroism that kept Jews going during the Holocaust was seen on October 7

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

The same heroism that motivated Jews to overcome despair and terror during the Holocaust was seen on October 7, Minister Benny Gantz declares, insisting that “our enemies sought to destroy, intimidate, and break us up, yet found us more united and determined.”

“Our sages say that a hero is one who conquers his passion. Faced with the evil forces of the Nazis, hunger, loss, and the smell of death from the ovens — our people held on to the strength of their souls,” he says at a Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration at the Massuah International Institute for Holocaust Studies.

“Children who jumped from trains, and ran under barrages of fire to freedom. Adults who shared a slice of bread when hunger was eating them from the inside. Heroes who survived, fought, and came to Israel to fight again for the resurrection of their people,” he states.

“In the days after October 7, I spoke with hundreds who had gone through hell,” he continues. “The phrase ‘second holocaust’ was heard more than once. And the stories were again stories of heroism. Little children who lay in the shelters and conquered fear. Soldiers, police officers, and members of the security and rescue forces or civilians, who fought battles with resourcefulness and courage. Who rescued hundreds, under fire and with ruses. Young people who jumped on grenades in shelters and fought terrorists with their bare hands. People who discovered a mutual responsibility and sacrificed their lives.”

In the days ahead, Israelis will need to muster more such courage to “overcome the anger and rage at freeing heinous murderers and at the postponement of fighting” in order to free the remaining hostages in Gaza, Gantz asserts.

“The continuation of fighting over time, and the understanding of the costs to Israeli society as a whole, also require bravery from us, and overcoming our inclinations,” he says, insisting that “our future is reflected in years and generations, not in the achievements of days or weeks.”

Most Popular