No. I am not ok

October 9, 2023

I’ve been meaning to write about a different topic about WebRTC, but somehow, this was more important.

There’s a war going on here where I live between Israel and Hamas. Or Israel and Gaza. Or Israel and the Palestiniens. Or Israel and Iran’s proxies. Or Israel and muslim extremists.

Or all of the above if we’re frank with ourselves.

We haven’t invited this war or wanted it, but it is what we need to face and deal with.

Others are explaining the situation better than I can on social media sites and in english. Here is one such example:

To those of you who reached out to me asking if I am ok, if me and my family are safe, I answered that we’re ok’ish mostly.

Well… I am not ok.

  • At least 700 were brutally murdered
    • Many of them civilians
    • Many of them babies, children, women and the elderly
    • Some of them are muslims (usually through rockets)
    • Some of them foreigners here in Israel – working, living or just visiting
  • Over 260 were butchered in an outdoor party. Many of them teenagers and young adults
  • The number of murdered is likely to raise above 1,000
    • At the size of Israel, this is bigger than 9/11 or pearl harbor event
    • It is a huge milestone and likely a turning point
  • Over 5,000 rockets have been fired on Israeli cities (might be more – might be less – who’s counting anymore?)
  • There are more than 100 kidnapped Israelis in Gaza now. Taken from their homes in Israel. Again – babies, children, women and elderly among them
  • Israeli parents and families still don’t know where their loved one are
    • Are they wounded somewhere?
    • Are they dead?
    • Were they kidnapped and taken into Gaza?
    • Are they being abused? Raped? Decapitated?
    • Some find out from social media
      • A story about people seeing their family members on live videos
      • An elderly woman whose family found out she was murdered because the murderer decided to take a photo of her and publish it on her Facebook account
    • My Facebook is filled with photos of missing family members. Mostly kids and young adults
  • This is all for the world to see right there on social media if one cares to look at war crimes and atrocities committed by Hamas while the Gazans, Palestinitens and other extremist muslims across the globe cheer and gloat (again – directly on social media – just go and watch)
  • These aren’t human beings. These are monsters

I. Am. Not. Ok.

  • Yes. Physically, I am fine. We live at the center of Israel in relative safety at the moment
  • Everything is relative in life
  • We came back from a two week vacation in the US a day before the war started
  • Yesterday, I went to the supermarket to buy supplies – we’re short on everything
  • In the elevator I met a neighbor coming out. We greeted each other with “hi”. He noted that we don’t say “good morning” anymore. I agreed. We left without the so common “have a great day” greeting
  • The supermarket was big and full of people for a Sunday morning
  • It was also totally quiet. If you know Israelis, you know we’re a loud bunch. None of it took place there
  • Everyone looked shell shocked and subdued on the outside. Looking more closely, you could see purpose. A parent telling his 20-year old child he wants to be called to the war – saying that while he is old, he wants to participate and help in any way he can
  • A person near the cash registers, asking people to donate food and stuff to take to the soldiers
  • And me? I consider myself sharp minded and grounded. I couldn’t find my shopping cart each time I went hunting for things to buy. Over and over again. I even came back and almost took a different cart to the astonishment of the pregnant lady and her husband standing next to it. Where was my mind wondering? Each and every time

No. I am not ok.

  • We have two kids. Teenagers
  • My son was on overdrive on the first day of the war. Hyperactive
    • Probably in an attempt to process things
    • That curbed down by the end of the day, and now he is silent and subdued
    • Buries himself in his video games and his drawings
  • My daughter, ever the silent type, stayed silent
    • She went to sleep on that first day, telling me that one of her best friend’s brothers was likely injured and his parents are rushing to the hospital
    • She woke up the next morning reading his name on a website as one of the first people announced dead. Murdered. Only 19 years old
    • Before we could tell her the news as we heard it through the parents
    • She spent the rest of yesterday going back and forth with the rest of her friends to that friend’s home. She will likely do that the rest of the week
    • At the age of 16, she is now experiencing grief. Seeing it in the face. Seeing parents bury their murdered child
    • What can I do with such reality?
  • And me and my wife? We trudge along, each with his own way of dealing with it
  • Thinking if and when to do what
    • Is it the right time to shower or should we wait? Sirens and all
    • Should we take our kids to this activity or that, or just cancel it for now
    • And if our kids need to go somewhere, should we go along with them, for the good that will do, or not
    • Is it enough to just close the door to the Mamad, or do we need to add an element that won’t let murdering palestinians open it from the outside while we’re inside?
    • Mundane daily thoughts and decisions we need to make here
  • It is hard to sleep at night
    • Not sure it has anything to do with a jet lag coming back from the US and the 10 hour difference
    • Or is it just the weird situation we’re in
    • Probably that second option

I am not ok.

  • We had sirens here. 5 of them so far I think. Not really counting
  • Each time, this means running to our Mamad. Every house and apartment in Israel has such a thing if it were built in the last 20+ years
    • This is a room that is built differently than the rest of the house
    • It has concrete walls and ceiling
    • A bomb shelter door and window made of heavy iron
    • Complete with the ability to ceil it up for chemical weapons if needed
  • This room is also my home office. If you’ve seen any of my videos or met me virtually, then you’ve seen this room
  • The window there is now closed. There’s no point in opening it up until this is all over
  • Once, I had to run in from a neighbor’s apartment, where we discussed matters related to the building. A decision I had to make – should I go stay in their Mamad or run home to be with my family so they worry a wee bit less
  • We had a rocket fall a few 100’s of meters from our place. On the road. No one was wounded. We heard it really well

I am not ok.

  • There’s an iron dome battery somewhere close. A few kilometers away I assume
  • When it fires rockets we feel it and then we hear it
  • It might be followed with a siren or not, depending on where the likely missiles are about to hit
  • Then you hear the intercepts or the falling missiles. They sound different

I am not ok.

  • We live next to a hospital. It is located some 2 kilometers from our place
  • In the last two days, I’ve seen my share of military helicopters coming in and out, moving severely wounded people around as they spread them across hospitals in Israel

I am not ok.

  • Hamas and the Palestinians are busy killing as many jews as they can indiscriminately
  • Our government and legal system are bickering over the legality of stopping supplying electricity to Gaza. We give them life while they give us death
  • What stupid world are we living in?

Physically? I am fine.

The rest? Not so much

If you know me or have been to this site before, then you know a bit about Israelis already.

We are here to create and innovate. To bring good to the world and to improve things.

In the 10+ years I’ve been running this blog, I shared my thoughts and helped my industry as much as I could. Many times, not asking for anything in return. It is what I do.

Two years ago, me and my other Israeli co-founders sold testRTC. Ever since I’ve been asking myself what I should do next.

One of my dreams recently has been to start teaching. Kids. Older ones. Show them the world of technology and entrepreneurship and what is possible. Be a mentor. Raise the next generation of creativity and innovation of Israelis.

I believe Israelis are a net positive to the world.

I act like this every day. I teach my kids in that way. I see that the floundering and ill equipped education system we have here in Israel does the same. There is no hatred in our teachings or in the way we raise our kids.

Palestiniens. Hamas. Extremist muslims.

How can they slaughter kids in cold blood? Murder whole families? Kill without discrimination whole communities? Then go and show it to the world on social media. And then praise it and celebrate on the streets.

This is inhumane.

In many ways, I see them as a net negative to the world.

I just can’t see it otherwise at the moment.

People who ask me what they can do to help – nothing. And everything.

Our dysfunctional government will find a way to help, and until then, the civilians here and the soldiers will figure it out. We always do. We don’t have a choice.

I don’t really need anything from you. We’re Israelis. We’ll survive. We have done so ever since the holocaust and we know we can only depend on ourselves. So thanks for asking, but I don’t need a thing at the moment.

  • The solidarity flags and colors lighting places across the globe? That’s useless. Sorry
  • You’ll switch gears over there saying we shouldn’t kill Palestiniens soon enough
  • All the while having your governments (at least some of them) continue to fund the Palestiniens in one way or another, just ending up fueling their war against us

Here’s a few picks from the news:

What can you do?

Understand that there aren’t really two sides to this story.

This conflict isn’t symmetrical in any way. It is between people who want to live and people who want to kill and ruin.

If you don’t believe me, then just go on social media and see what the Palestinians are doing. How they parade dead Israeli soldiers, small kids and elderly on the streets of Gaza for all their people to see and enjoy. This is the 21st century.

So no. I am not ok.

We will prevail. And in the meantime, I will be working. Different than usual, but still working. Still making my small and modest contribution to the world. Trying to touch and better those I interact with.

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  1. tsahi,
    You're right – there isn't much I can say to ease your pain, nor much that I can do except to see with unbiased eyes (which as you said can be hard with rampant media).

    Thank you for putting the perspective on the magnitude of this heinous act- Pearl Harbor/911 lets me know how great the pain and *shock* this means to the Israeli people. This morning, in front of our congregation of ~200 Korean American Christian worshippers, I led the congregational prayer – and can let you know that all 200 are praying for Israel and peace. I hope that this small act gives you some solace.

    For you and your family, please do what you can to care for your health. Take rest whenever your body says it needs rest. Find time to reflect on things of encouragement – guard your heart as best as possible in these times.

    “The Lord bless youand keep you;
    the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
    the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”

    -Glenn Inn
    Avail Medsystems

  2. I am without words about what is happening in Israel, to the Israelis…

    Thank you for everything you have done for the WebRTC community in the past 10+ years. You are one of driving forces educating about this technology, truly net positive.

  3. I stumbled at this article as I follow you via rss. I am really sorry that you are not ok, I can't imagine what is living among the terror you just described, while reading your description it reminded me reading very similar descriptions by Palestianians. So I hope someday you can overcome that anger and see that there are always two or more) sides of a story, and we are all humans on both sides.

    1. There’s a know saying here in Israel – peace will come when the Palestinians will love their children more than they hate ours

      The butchering and the slaughter and the pure evil here is one sided. If you cannot see it, then just go look at what the Palestinians themselves are publishing in social media in the last two days.

  4. Stay strong Tsahi! We [Ukrainians] fully support the Israeli people! Hamas, Iran, and their supporters Russia will be punished soon!

  5. Hi Tsahi:

    Very sad to hear what you describe in this blog entry. 🙁
    I wish you, your family, the Israel people and the Palestinian people too, peace.
    I hope you will get the courage to work efficiently further as you usually do in the topic I like, WebRTC; despite the troubles your country is passing through now.

    One remark: "We give them life while they give us death" may be a very, very dangerous statement. This have been said by many nations during history, and have proved always wrong, as it does not carry any humanity in it. Holocaust is an example of it. May the world not repeat it again under any circumstances with whatever people it could be.

    With all respects, I wish you resiliency,


  6. Tsahi, well said. I think what does help – openly share the opinion. In situations or precisely after terrorist attacks like this or the Ukrainian invasion, one cannot return to business as usual, terrorist attacks must be condemned. We have the privilege to live in peaceful places, you don't and it is not your fault.

  7. Hi Tzahi.

    Accept my condolences on the deaths and kidnappings and all the horrible things that Israel went through these recent days.

    However, I want to dig a bit and comment on your following statements – I don't completely agree with you on these:

    "There is no hatred in our teachings or in the way we raise our kids.
    This conflict isn’t symmetrical in any way. It is between people who want to live and people who want to kill and ruin.
    We give them life while they give us death."

    I myself is Jewish and I lived in Israel (Jerusalem) from 1991 to 2000, got my Bachelors from Hebrew university. Can I say – I am an Israeli?
    Well, I don't feel like one, and the attitude of Israeli people towards Arabs and Palestinians is one of the reasons I don't feel like one.

    I grew up in Leningrad, Soviet Union, and with all the issues we had, one thing was almost perfect there – the internationalism, the multiculturalism. No matter what nationality you were – Russian, Jewish, Ukrainian, Bashkir, Udmurt, Tatar, Kazakh etc… – you were treated the same. For real. Not just on the paper, but in reality. We were educated that it matters what personality you are, what you speak, how you behave – that's what matters, not your nationality. We admired great Arabic tales and authors and poets and we admired Shmuel Agnon and Jewish culture as well.

    Now, when I emigrated to Israel at the age of 18, I suddenly found a different type of country – a country where nationalities are not equal. I saw a horrible discrimination of Arabs, regardless whether they were Israeli citizens, Palestinians or whatever else. They were clearly a sub-race to Israelis. Through my life in Jerusalem I would sometimes talk to my Israeli friends and ask them to explain me why this discrimination is happening in such a notorious level. I never got anything meaningful from them – usually it was like "you are just a new immigrant here, you don't understand what's going on". Years passed and I started to understand what's going on (the context of war Israel lives in, the terror Arabs bring etc…), but still the exploitation of cheap Arabic labor, the discrimination of Arabs on all levels of society – was NOT-OK with me. From simply moral, human perspective it was NOT-OK with me. I know for a fact, from an insider information, that Israeli authorities delayed money transfers to Palestinian autonomy in Ramallah, making huge profits on their money sitting 2-3 weeks in Israeli banks. I know many other facts – about how Arabs were not accepted to various jobs, Palestinian journalists were prosecuted (I spoke to some of them) and many others. From what I am reading, this attitude towards Arabs and Palestinians has not changed in Israel. And in my opinion, the security measures against Arabic terror still do not justify this kind of attitude towards Palestinians in Israel.

    So don't get me wrong, Tsahi. I am with you. I am with Israel. But – if something is wrong around you, maybe it's a good idea to ask yourself – "Maybe I am a little bit guilty too? Maybe I am doing something wrong too?"

    Let's even forget what I said above and only talk about well known facts:
    UN has well-defined borders of Israeli state and Palestinian state as of 1967. (not even talking about borders of 1948). Israel doesn't honor UN decisions and still occupies much of Palestinian territory, given 1967-assigned borders. UN issues resolution after resolution condemning that occupation, but Israel doesn't care and still keeps the occupation. This leads to Islamic radicals like HAMAS to take over the powers at Gaza and the results are just going to be from bad to worse.

    Why does Israel keeps the occupation? Yes, it's going to be hard and expensive – but let's withdraw from Palestinian lands, even from east Jerusalem, and let's build security fences to protect Israel. Let's honor UN-assigned 1967 borders of Israel and Palestine. If Israel did that, then Mahmoud Abbas would be completely OK with Israel, and no-one in the whole world would be on Palestinian side (and even fundamentalists who want to annihilate Israel, would have no basis for their attitude). Isn't that the only way? I am asking you now, like I asked my Israeli friends in Jerusalem 30 years ago – please explain me where I am wrong? If you wish, you can publish another article where you clarify my doubts. And feel free to communicate directly to my email.

    Maxim Ershtein

    1. Maxim,

      Gaza strip isn’t part of Israel and isn’t occupied by Israel. Hamas and the Palestinians there chose they path.
      In the East bank, the Palestinian authority isn’t ruling. Mahmud Abas isn’t ruling. Hamas along with other organizations are the law of the land for the most part, which requires Israel to stick around. If we leave, we will have another bigger war on a longer and more fragile border.
      The UN says a lot of interesting things about other topics related to war crimes. These are committed by the Palestinians for quite some time now and with a lot more fervor in the past two days.

      Arabs have it hard in Israel.
      Their first language is Arabic in a nation that predominantly speak Hebrew when it comes to positions of money and power. That and the fact that they have different cultures make it hard for them to blend in. That said, there are many Arabs today at rather high positions including CEOs and presidents of both private, public and governmental agencies in Israel.
      Arabs in Israel started recently to identify themselves as both Israelis and Palestinians. Sometimes, an Israeli first. That’s a positive thing in my mind.

      I would unlikely to recruit an Arab to a startup company as one of the founders. I am unlikely to recruit a woman for that matter either. I am also unlikely to recruit someone who isn’t in a similar situation and background as myself to be a co-founder. Not because of discrimination, but due to the simple matter of it being a startup and the commercial objectives comes before those of inclusivity. You see the opposite in public and large Israeli companies. While working at Amdocs 12 years ago, it was common to see in the same ad-hoc meeting in a corridor an liberal Israeli, an orthodox Israeli and an Arab Israeli discussing a technical matter. Amdocs made it a point to recruit Arabs and even open a large site in Nazareth up North to recruit and work with Arabs. Likely due to government assistance and funding.

      And yes. In schools kids aren’t educated to hate Arabs. I know I wasn’t and I know my kids aren’t.
      We learn that from life itself. The terrorist acts that take place here from time to time.

      All the above is irrelevant to the matter at hand and what I am trying to say.

      The attack just now is one that is barbaric in nature. This is killing for the purpose and joy of killing. Nothing more.
      No human should allow that or try to explain that by throwing the responsibility on the other side.

  8. Tsahi,
    no one can be ok while going through these times.
    No parent will do fine at burying their child, I know because I did buried my daughter.
    War is barbaric indeed, but this is not a common war, this is terror unleashed by murderous puppets guided from teheran (which in turn is guided from moscow or pekin).
    The cost of internal division is this. Seems that bibi managed to split the country in two so that the enemy could butcher it this way.
    I cannot understand how mossad neither shin bet and even cia have seen this coming, it is unbelievable.
    But Hashem is almighty and will prevail at the end, the same way that Israel will prevail, there is no other option and whoever thinks otherwise is deeply wrong.
    Now is the time to stand as one, so Israel and democracy will finally be victorious.
    All my prayers and those of my family are with you and Israel.

  9. Hello Tsahi,

    I hope this finds you well. This is a regretful situation for any person and I can only imagine the fear and pain you and your family are going through, nobody should go through that.

    The rest of this comment is most definitely going to rub you the wrong way, at least at first. I don't wish that anyone would have to go through what you are experiencing for any reason, but to say that this situation is a surprise, unexpected or unprovoked is (willfully or not) ignorant.

    I cannot stress enough that i am not making light of what you are going through, i don't have children of my own so in fact i can't even begin to imagine your situation. However what you have felt during these days and perhaps in specific moments before, Palestinians have been constantly feeling for decades.

    To be clear, I am not trying to turn this into a pity party of look who is feeling worse than the other guy. loss of human life is always a tragedy on any side for any reason. Your fears and concerns are completely valid, so don't let me or anyone else dictate how you should feel.

    My aim with this comment is to try and dispel propaganda and preserve human life and dignity on any and all sides. to that end i understand that this kind of comment will be seen as tone-deaf to your situation, and "not the time". Frankly, the time for this kind of discussion conveniently never comes, so it's always a bad time but that doesn't mean it's any less of an important conversation. Kind of like gun control in the US if that makes sense.

    It is extremely easy to dismiss this message or any kind of opposition as being "anti-Semitic", but i promise you it is not. If there is one thing to take from all of this, it is that you understand the conflicts political nature and not simply deflect it as "anti-semitism", "foreign interests", "terrorist sympathizer", etc….
    I am appealing to your ability to think critically as a person. If you object to or want to refute any point i've made, absolutely feel free to. I strive to only quote facts and proven primary sources (and make a point of avoiding biased sources), but nobody is perfect. As much as i would like to help you educate yourself on some things, i more than willing to be corrected and educated on anything wrong on my end.

    As you've done in the beginning of your post, It is very, very easy to just boil down this situation to a "simple premise". You (and doubtless many others) have equated Hamas, Gaza, Palestinians, Iran and muslim extremists. If nothing else from anything i say here. This generalization is extremely dangerous, and for everyone's sake, nobody should think like that. Nobody on any side. for example, there are distinctions between being Jewish, Israeli and a Zionist. while they may often overlap, they are very distinct concepts (religion, nationality and ideology). Honestly a lot of opponents of israel mix them up because it's easier propaganda that way. it's easier to hate all of something and not be nuanced about parts of it. Clearly that's wrong. I implore you not to just generalize because that means you are not thinking critically about the situation, You will only end up parroting someone else.

    To clarify, the issue is political at it's core. Palestinians are objecting to occupation and colonialism as documented by literally dozens of human rights groups (UN, amnesty international, b'tselem, etc…). This occupation is the manifestation of Zionist ideals, but we can argue about why another time. For the purposes of preserving human life, it's important to focus on the current situation and not go down a rabit hole of who said what and why a century ago.

    The actual violence and attacks are being carried out by Hamas. you can speculate all you like about foreign influences, but most crucially you cannot and should not mindlessly group civilians in Gaza or Palestinians in general with them. I understand and know that you will point out to some of them who are happy with Israeli casualties. I'm not saying those people don't exist, they do (on both sides). What i am saying is that by generalizing, you are acting in the same mistaken way as them. That line of thinking, where you dehumanize others only leads to rationalizing committing atrocities. It is by that very same token that there has been civilian casualties by both Hamas and Israel. In other words, it's hypocritical to fear for Israeli civilians saftey while at the same time being okay with indiscriminant violence to Palestinians in Gaza (i mention this because of your later point referencing stopping the electricity supply to Gaza, which i'll touch up more on later…).

    Here's a thought experiment: do you condemn and wish violence on all russians because of Putin's invasion of Ukraine? do you condemn Ukranians who glorify the death of russians in ukranian territory?

    > We haven’t invited this war or wanted it

    Maybe you haven't as an individual, but it is to no one's surprise that this is the current situation. as i've mentioned earlier, countless organizations have condemned this occupation and treatment of Palestinians. If this has truly taken you by surprise, i urge you to look more into the history of this whole situation and double-check multiple sources to make sure the authenticity of information. Year by year, the situation in Gaza grows more dire. One of the most densely populated spots on earth. Known as an open air prison and referred to by the secretary general of the UN as "hell on earth". These people do not have the right of self determination or freedom of movement. They do not control their own network infastructure, water or electricity supply. All of that is controlled by Israel. Reports that as much as 94% of the water supply there is undrinkable. Time and time again, Israel has blocked attempts to improve the infastructure and the quality of water and in turn life. Year after year, more people are getting sick. Hundreds of casualties every year by airstrikes and the oh so common defence of "they are using human shields" without accountability. Gaza's aproximately 2 million population is almost 50% minors, when bombing is a routine, innocent civilians tend to die. Even when peacefully protesting (a great example of that are a major string of peaceful protests during 2018) there are still many civilian, aid and journalist casualties.

    The situation for Palestinians in general and Gaza in particular just keeps getting worse and worse year by year. doomed if they do and doomed if they don't. especially with top level Israeli officials like ben gvir or smotrich having openly hostile approaches, Many palestinians do not see hope at the end of the tunnel. For Gazans, there is only two ways their suffering will end. Either the occupation ends, or else eventually they will die as part of an ethnic cleansing, carried out by israelis who didn't consider them human beings.

    This by no means was unexpected or a war that was not asked for. even disregarding the terrible status quo, Israel routinely anexes land, expels Palestinians from their home and other "fun" transgressions like (at this point, anually) storming al aqsa mosque. i did an exercise a year ago, and was able to match every time Hamas fires a volley of rockets as a response to a transgression on palestinians in the past 10 years. If you did believe Israel did not ask for this war, please try to learn more about the situation on the ground from unbiased sources because it was clear as day that the situation is not sustainable.

    I've seen a lot of people say that this is effectively 9/11 for Israelis because of the amount of casualties compared to the total population. If that is the case, then how many 9/11s did Gaza have? again, any loss of life on any side is a tragedy. But i surely hope that recognizing that one side has 10x the casualties is a signal of something.

    You've mentioned the party. I don't condon civilian casualties, but take a moment to think about why is there a party on (illegally recognized) occupied land? Here's another thought experiment, if the Russian invasion and annexation of ukraine lasts another 20 years. And for whatever reason there are now civillian russian settlements in (formerly) ukrainian territory. when Ukrainian soldiers fight to reclaim their land and cause civilian casualties (intentional or otherwise), how does the blame fall?

    In passing you've also entertained the idea that missing Israelis are possibly raped. i wanted to specifically call that out as misinformation that has been making the rounds recently. Although in your defense you only mentioned it as a possibility, i've seen many posts that state it as fact. In so far as this current "war", there has been no actual reported/documented cases of that happening. Outside of this week though, i'd be happy to point towards multiple confirmed cases of IDF soldiers raping Palestinians.

    You've mentioned having a hospital near you, genuinely that is good. you also have warning sirens, the iron dome and bunkers in every building. People in Gaza don't have any of that. hell, at the time of writing their power is shut off (literal warcrime) so they have nothing. it's not a competition of who has it worse. But what i am trying to get across here is that for all the fear and concern you are going through now, they've been going through for decades. and i'm hoping that can help identify and demystify their plight to a life with dignity. Because so often people will just say "they hate life, they believe in darkness and hate" or whatever bullshit buzzword.

    There's a sentence you said that i think is very poignant:
    > We give them life while they give us death
    Ask yourself critically:
    – why are we in a position to give them life
    – why do they give us death
    genuinely deconstruct this. who is "we", who are "they", what the "position" is, what kind of "life" is given, and why is "death" the output. It is very easy to just say "oh they are evil" and call it a day. but that's never the truth. everybody is right in their own eyes for their own reasons. Nobody can deal in good faith with someone they see as sub-human. So when answering these questions for yourself, don't take the easy way out. You don't have to agree with other people's reasons, but you should always understand where they are coming from.

    I hope any of this has been illuminating to you, if you've even read this far. i think it's statistically more probable that you have deleted or ignored this message long ago. i know with everything that is happening, your priorities lie elsewhere and you aren't really in a mental or emotional place to discuss or debate this kind of thing. I don't blame you, but as i've mentioned, there never is a good time to discuss this. Again, i am not making light of your situation and i pray for you and your family's saftey. It's just that when i read your post, i saw a bunch of statements that i felt were misinformed. I don't hold that against you. I wanted to respond to more specific parts of your post and actually add linked references to everything but i think with the level of detail i wanted to go into, it's a bit much to tackle the entire post. Though i am more than happy to provide references to anything i've said, just let me know. I'm sure you may have many objections or counter points, to which i would happily discuss them with you. i'm not trying to mindlessly defend one side. Or maybe after all of this you'll just deflect and accuse me of being anti-Semitic (which is not the case). I'm just trying to engage your critical thinking to rise above the misinformation.

    Regardless of all of this, thank you for all the years of knowledge. i've actually started a business years ago that was significantly dependent on webrtc and your resources have always been helpful. Though unfortunately being in a cut-throat market meant i didn't have enough of a budget to use testRTC. maybe i should have started with that to soften things up…

    1. This is whataboutism, but I will answer this critically.

      I was born here in Israel. I am happy to share the land with others. I worked shoulder to shoulder with Israeli arabs and I share the present and the future with them.

      Hamas was democratically selected by the Palestinians living in Gaza.

      What occurred two days ago are war crimes.
      To the list of atrocities we were now informed that 40 babies were killed and some beheaded in their nurseries. Not soldiers. Civilians. Babies.
      Civilians were murdered after being captured.
      Others were burned alive in their homes.
      Hamas continued by kidnapping civilians into Gaza.
      All the above are war crimes.

      What the Israeli Defense Force is doing is retaliating. Answering in kind not to get revenge but in order to get back the kidnapped civilians.

      Put yourself in their shoes. Would you do such acts of war crime?
      Put yourself in my shoes. What would you do?

      I haven’t even made a political view here of where I am in this conflict.

      There is no symmetry. There is no “on both sides” here. There is no room for whataboutism when such acts are committed.

      This doesn’t mean that we will or should go and kill each and every person in Gaza. This won’t happen and couldn’t happen. Simply because this isn’t the way Jews or Israel behave.
      How do I know? Not because of “propaganda”. But because I live here. I know the people around me. The ones that are right wing and those that are left wing in their thinking.

      1. Tsahi,

        This is NOT just whataboutism – there is one magic word there, which I mentioned in my post as well, which is the root of the problem, and which you and Israeli society keep ignoring. Emotions are emotions and grief is grief – but if we put that aside, only one rational magic word that remains is:


        This is way Palestinians fight, this is why Arabs commit terrorist acts against Israelis, this is why HAMAS came to powers in Gaza and West Bank – because Palestinians do not know what else to do to put an end to Israeli occupation of 1967-assigned lands.

        Don't you see a vicious circle:
        Arabs commit terror against you -> you hate them ("life itself teaches you", like you said in your answer to my post) and occupy their lands . You hate them and occupy their lands -> they commit terror against you.
        You see the vicious circle? How to break it? The answer is – eliminate the root cause of their fight – stop the occupation.

        Do you know that majority of Chechnyans in Russia still think that Russia occupies Chechnya. Kinda similar situation. You know there were two Chechnyan wars in 90-s where Russia completely wiped the whole city of Grozny from the very existence. But what happened in mid 90-s is: Chechnyan terrorists came to Russian cities and kidnapped people, mostly women and you don't even want to know what kind of torture and atrocities those Chehnyans committed to their victims. Russian public looked at them as barbaric animals and, just like now, not a lot of people realized that they were compelled to use terror to fight for their land, their freedom. Same kind of terror comes from separatists in Northern Ireland, Catalonia and other places where small minorities try to fight for freedom against bigger and stronger country.

        There is no justification for terror. No, no, no. But terror will happen if people are not given any other way for fighting for their freedom.

        In your answer to my post you wrote: "If we leave, we will have another bigger war on a longer and more fragile border."
        So be it! Leave and have a bigger war. If you left in 2001, before HAMAS came to powers, there wouldn't be a bigger war. Now it's late, but not too late. It's never late to do the right thing.

        1. This is where we are going to differ in our views.

          You accept deliberate killing of civilians and war crimes when it is pointed at the Jews – or at the very least rationalize them.

          You can keep trying to explain to me that it is my or my country's fault that our civilians were purposefully butchered, kidnapped and tortured on Saturday. It won't get me convinced.

          1. No, I do NOT accept it. I am just explaining why this happens, and yes, in my opinion, there is some partial fault of your country in this situation. You don't agree with that?

            The other guilty parties are fundamentalists and Palestinians themselves that couldn't accept numerous peace proposals of 2003, 2008(Barak, Olmert).

          2. If you can explain to me why this is happening then you effectively accept it. You are also putting some of the blame on me for another (who is obviously my enemy) committing a war crime.

            The partial fault I will take in this ruthless butchering is that our own leaders were too stupid to assume that Hamas are deterred and have an interest in having Palestinian workers for Gaza work in Israel. That Hamas would be interested in increased commerce and improvement of the day to day life of its citizens. So much so that it left the borders without the necessary military force.

          3. >If you can explain to me why this is happening then you effectively accept it. You are also putting some of the blame on me for another (who is obviously my enemy) committing a war crime.

            Are you saying because i understand someone's reasoning, i automatically accept it and side with them? does that make sense?

            Again, nobody is condoning war crimes on any side, and i don't think anyone here is denying that Hamas has committed war crimes. The idea here is to understand the bigger picture and why each side is acting in the way that it is. Hamas's actions are a direct response to the ongoing occupation. The Israeli military's response is to Hamas's response. It's like bullying someone until they snap, and then using that as an excuse to treat them more violently. i'm not condoning violence or war crimes, but to boil down the situation to "they are bad people" is an impending disaster for human life.

            > You accept deliberate killing of civilians and war crimes when it is pointed at the Jews – or at the very least rationalize them.

            First of all, please don't deflect with this being about Jews. Palestinians and Israelis are dying irregardless of their religion. I don't accept any loss of life, but yes i will try to understand why and how that happened. If you don't take a step back to critically understand the situation and what has led up to it, you will only contribute to the vicious cycle of violence. I'm not saying Israel doesn't have the right to defend itself, but this is definitely not the way, and it is only making things bloodier on both sides.

            > I was born here in Israel. I am happy to share the land with others. I worked shoulder to shoulder with Israeli arabs and I share the present and the future with them.

            That's part of the issue here. you have to recognize that these lands are not wholly Israel's. Year after year, more land is illegally annexed, settled and and Palestinians expelled. You've mentioned peaceful coexistance with Israelis (arab or other wise). What about Palestinians? If you were born on the other side of the fence, how would you feel if you've been evicted from your home that's been owned by your family for the past 100 years like the residents of Sheikh Jarrah or countless other places? some of the people evicted are seniors that are literally older than the nation state of Israel that is evicting them under false pretenses. You have to acknowledge that fact. What land you are happy to share does not entirely belong to your nation, has been obtained with blood, and even then is not willingly shared with or returned to it's rightful owners.

            > To the list of atrocities we were now informed that 40 babies were killed and some beheaded in their nurseries. Not soldiers. Civilians. Babies.

            as always, any loss of life is tragic. But please be very careful with sensational lines like this one. The baby beheadings specifically has been debunked at the time of writing. It was originally reported by i24 and many other outlets ran with it, but later turkish news asked the IDF for an official statement and was told that there is no proof or confirmation of that happening. This is just one example of sensational misinformation. One should always be diligent about these kinds of reports. This goes both ways, for example there are reports and videos of the IDF allegedly using white phosphorous rounds in current indiscriminant bombings (warcrime). However i have yet to see it officially confirmed so i don't go around claiming that (until it's factually proven).

            > This doesn’t mean that we will or should go and kill each and every person in Gaza. This won’t happen and couldn’t happen. Simply because this isn’t the way Jews or Israel behave.
            How do I know? Not because of “propaganda”. But because I live here. I know the people around me. The ones that are right wing and those that are left wing in their thinking.

            Not only has the occupation's policies slowly been leading up to this, this is literally what is happening now. The Israeli government doesn't get to cut power, water, food from a prison and keep bombing it then pretend or claim that it doesn't want to commit genocide. I do hope you and other sensible people agree that this shouldn't happen. You say so now that you don't want that to happen though it was implied in the original post but i digress. Unfortunately when there are people like the minister of national security Ben Gvir having roots as a supporter of an extremist zionist terrorist group (declared terrorists by Israeli government) who are on record spouting disgusting and racist vile rhetoric, you'll have to forgive me and anyone else who don't believe that this isn't the case. From all we've seen from policies and actions, there is no good faith. Even in times of relative peace and stability, there are transgressions on Palestinians. While you might be level headed and don't condone mass genocide, unfortunately many others do. Hell they used to have parties in sderot to watch the bombs go off in Gaza.

            > You can keep trying to explain to me that it is my or my country's fault that our civilians were purposefully butchered, kidnapped and tortured on Saturday. It won't get me convinced.

            You can disagree with anything said here and try to refute it. but there's a difference between refuting an argument, and willingly covering your ears and saying "you can't change my mind". and unfortunately, this situation is borne from too many people doing that.

          4. The Israel Palestinian conflict is long and complex. I don’t agree with what you’re saying, but this is not the point. Hamas and Gaza opened a surprise war against Israel and is committing war crimes against humanity. Israel must protect itself so these attacks won’t happen again. This isn’t about retribution – it is about defending the livelihood of Israel and its population.

            That said, The Israeli army, today as in the past, is operating under the strictest rules in the world in preserving the laws of war. There are mistakes and they are being learned. The enemy we face is effectively using ISIS tactics, violating every rule of law. We will never stop to that level. Not in the past. Not now. Not in the future.

            I have opened my heart and sole in this post to share what it is I am going through.
            It was never meant to be written to open a debate on who is to blame, where this conflict is stemming from.

          5. > The Israel Palestinian conflict is long and complex

            The history of it is indeed long, but the current situation and how to move forward is simple (ending the occupation). We could argue for months about how things came to be like this, but it is for the sake of all human life that i urge people not to drop the issue. Unfortunately too many people just consider it too complex and then stop thinking about it while countless more lives are lost on both ends. Mind you i'm not accusing you personally of dismissing the issue. i'm just pressing on the importance of it because too many people unfortunately do dismiss it.

            > Hamas and Gaza opened a surprise war against Israel and is committing war crimes against humanity

            This is a point i've been trying to get across: very unfortunately, it is not a surprise. It is only a surprise in the Israeli/Western narrative. To think that it is a surprise, is to show how little awareness and understanding there is of the state of Palestinians and their constantly worsening situation. This situation was inevitable and will continue to happen again and again if the status quo continues. The attacks from Hamas are the product of decades of suffering and transgressions. Again i'm not saying they aren't committing war crimes or giving them a pass for doing so. I am drilling down the facts of the matter and how things came to be in order clarify how to move forward. Pushed to their limit, a starving man will steal and do worse things just to survive. when there is no hope to live, you'll try to die on your terms.

            A quick aside here to ask again not to conflate Hamas and Gaza. simple mistake to make but extremely important to distinguish parties on both sides. When i am criticizing Israel, i'm specifically criticizing specifically the IDF, the government and it's policies, and zionist individuals actively engaging in colonialism through pogroms and the like. I do not group these people with the average sensible Israeli citizen, or Jewish people in general.
            These distinctions are important because when people conflate things and eat up false narratives, they end up advocating for committing genocide like these people for instance . This reduction only serves not to solve the actual issues resulting in more human tragedies.

            > Israel must protect itself so these attacks won’t happen again. This isn’t about retribution – it is about defending the livelihood of Israel and its population.

            Israel has every right to defend itself and it should. but it needs to be acknowledged that this is not wholly about defending it's citizens. Defense is the claim here, though i am not sure i can even call this retribution. well, there is always some amount of retribution

            This entire situation is of Israel's doing. Through repeated transgressions and provocations due to the ocupation, Palestinians will protest and get beaten/detained, Terror groups will launch assaults and be met with wildly excessive and indiscriminate force, usually resulting demolishing entire areas by air strikes resulting in in countless palestinian civillian casualties that the media will spin as human shields, and there is never any accountability. bonus points if outside Gaza, then Israel builds new (and illegal) settlements on that land, and have heavy IDF presence there under the guise of protecting Israelis, which inevitably turns into more transgressions and the cycle continues.

            Israel has the moral right to defend itself. But it is directly responsible for provocations, then under the guise of defense, deepens the occupation further. If genuinely the main and only goal was the saftey of it's citizens, the one immediate obvious major solution is ending the occupation. What it is engaging in, is ethnic cleansing in slow motion, just slow and narratively justified enough that people don't notice or care.

            > That said, The Israeli army, today as in the past, is operating under the strictest rules in the world in preserving the laws of war. There are mistakes and they are being learned. The enemy we face is effectively using ISIS tactics, violating every rule of law. We will never stop to that level. Not in the past. Not now. Not in the future.

            I really wish that was true, but it is categorically false. there are many, many, many cases over the years where it is proven false. here are just some examples:
            – Usage of white phosphorus in indiscriminate attacks on heavily populated areas which is a war crime, confirmed forensically by multiple organizations later
            – Military sanctioned pogroms by settlers. A good example is Huwara, where settlers were setting fires to cars and properties and injuring Palestinians with IDF standing there and letting them do whatever they want. When Palestinians resisted and fought back, then the IDF only stepped in to beat down the Palestinians and not to stop the destruction caused by settlers. Imagine setting a building on fire while having a fully armed soldier next to you making sure that the residents don't throw a stone at you.
            – Forced expulsions of people in an occupied land, a good high profile recent example of that is Sheikh Jarrah which is deemed illegal under international law (as cited by UNRWA). A very fun example here is how a guy from new jersey is now living in a home owned by an activist's family for decades. interview at the time stamp , the rest of the video is good too. it's not just one family ofcourse, this is but one example of many others.
            – frequent killings of activists, aid workers and journalists like Shireen abu akleh
            – Many ex-IDF personnel testimonies that show the horrors they are doing, or outright denounce the Israeli occupation, some examples
            – – testimonies from a documentary about tantura during 1948, this is a snippet and
            – – there's also a bunch of testimonies from "breaking the silence" ex-IDF whistleblowers and
            – handy link of other instances

            usually all this results in condemnations by the UN, then nothing actually sticking because the US jumps in with a veto

            And i don't blame you for not being aware. It may be hard to believe but the narrative is shaped so heavily by the IDF that it's impressive if not depressing. a good public example is the case of Shireen abu akleh, a respected american palestinian journalist working in the region for decades. here's a rough timeline:
            – Shireen was standing with her crew, four journalists wearing clearly marked press jackets and helmets, in a street without clashing or violence, reporting on another area near by. she was shot in the head.
            – Initial IDF statement was that she was murdered by terrorists
            – Eyewitness and video evidence comes out and proves there were no insurgents, terrorists, anything anywhere near that could have shot them
            – IDF revises statement to say it may have been an accident from their side, promises to revise it's process
            – Shireen was a very respected figure, and her funeral had hundreds of people there to mourn
            – IDF then beats down the mourners and interrupts the funeral procession. it stated that it was there on the request of her family to keep the peace, and it only started breaking up the crowd after they were thrown with stones
            – IDF produces video with one of the mourners throwing a stone at the IDF before the violence begins.
            – Shireen's brother refutes IDF's claim that her family requested them to assist in any way with the funeral
            – Later, more clear video evidence from other angles shows that the video the IDF produced was doctored and that the "initial stone" thrown was a lie.
            – a year later, no accountability

            generally speaking, IDF will refute allegations every step of the way, sometimes even fabricating evidence or reasons, and in most cases there is no accountability on their end.

            It is perfectly fine for you to still believe that "despite this, the IDF are trying their best, etc…". you are entitled to your opinion, but factually speaking no, the Israeli army does not operate on the highest standard of law or ethics at all. it is the single most condemned country by the UN for it's military actions.

            In so far as the current round of attacks, there are reports of IDF deploying white-phosphorus again (no statement issued by them, multiple video evidence sources), and the IDF has also bombed the Egyptian crossing into gaza to prevent aid and humanitarian relief or people from exiting if they could in the first place.

            > I have opened my heart and sole in this post to share what it is I am going through.
            It was never meant to be written to open a debate on who is to blame, where this conflict is stemming from.

            Tsahi I genuinely appreciate you bearing your soul like this. i hope that your situation is as stable as can be and that you and your family and everyone remains safe.

            I know that these threads are essentially hijacking the topic of you speaking out to your situation. you most assuredly did not ask for all of this. as i've stated from the start, i know all of this is effectively tone-deaf and not really what anyone in your situation wants to hear right now. I thank you again for your correspondence thus far, regardless of if any of it reached you in any way. There simply is never a right time to talk about this kind of thing, so whenever i see anyone on either side say something that is uninformed, or in worse cases inhumane, i try to step in. Even if these attacks die down now, give it a year or two and it will flare up again as long as the status quo doesn't change. I try educate as much as i can, get educated if i am wrong about anything, and try to make people see eye to eye and beyond biases and misinformation. The only way for meaningful peace is to rise above all of the hate and agendas, critically and not just idealistic thinking. If i was on the ground there i would protest, but sadly i'm not so this is the best i can do.

            Thank you for your time Tsahi

          6. I have approved and published your comment out of respect to this conversation.

            I don’t agree to most of what is written here, which shows a false narrative in my mind. There are also examples, instances and facts that can be found on the internet for that.

            I will not publish further comments discussing the matter simply because this wasn’t meant to be political in any way.

  10. I'm so sorry for what's happening and for all the innocent people that are suffering. Nothing ever justifies terrorism and war. Please look after yourself and your family.

  11. The horror is unspeakable ;-(, I wish you and your family a lot of strength in these extremely difficult times! Unfortunately, Just as you say I do know very well, that the narrative in many western countries will start to be twisted with the response of the IDF against the terrorists. As a grandson of a holocaust survivor I have heard stories in my family of how regular people turned a blind eye and remained silent when their neighbours were persecuted, robbed and murdered. Although a staggering number of innocent lives were taken by the Hamas terrorists, I know Israel and its people will stay strong and get even stronger to go on to keep building their country, loving their families and supporting their communities. I can not do much to help, but one I can promise to keep on doing, as an EU citizen I will keep supporting the state of Israel and its people openly and loudly for our politicians to hear and see. Please take care of yourself and your loved ones.

  12. I feel so sorry for you. I am a Ukrainian suffering from a Russian invasion and I can understand you like nobody can. You fight for your life and human being values and you will win. Definitely. Stay safe!

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