From Israel: “Staying Sane in an Insane World!!”

Not an easy task these days, but the effort is essential.  For a good part of the world has gone mad.  We must retain our balance – our values and our understanding of who we are.

I introduce you here to Elisha Meidan, who went into Gaza even though he would have been exempt because of his age.  In the course of fighting, he lost his best friends in battle, and then his legs. He exemplifies courage, as well as a strong sense of himself and commitment to what matters.

Last Thursday, Prime Minister Netanyahu went to Sheba Medical Center to speak with wounded soldiers and met with Elisha.

Credit: Kobi Gideon

This is what he said (emphasis added):

“Mr. Prime Minister, I want to tell you that I am happy and do not regret at all that I entered Gaza, even though I was eligible for an exemption. I was proud to fight next to my fallen comrades, who were my best friends.

It is important for us to know that my friends getting killed and my injury were not in vain. We are going to mow them down, defeat them, not give up, and not return to October 6th in any way – neither security-wise, nor in the separation we had in the nation. I will do everything I can so that we will not go back there.”



His words take on enormous significance as the possibility of a hostage deal with Hamas continues to hover in the air.  There is a fear that what we might agree to would weaken our chances of achieving that victory.

I will not belabor all of the (sometimes conflicting) details about a possible deal contained in various reports.  What I will say is that there seems to be conflict within Hamas with regard to whether to strike a deal that does not include a permanent ceasefire – with Haniyeh and other Hamas leaders in Qatar taking the tougher line.

And then we see that Marwan Barghouti’s name is being mentioned as someone Hamas wants released in an exchange for hostages.  This should not be permitted.  This terrorist helped instigate the second intifada and is in prison for several life sentences because of his involvement in terror incidents in which five people were murdered.  

He is highly popular among the Palestinian Arabs of the PA, who envision him as a replacement for Abbas.

Credit: AP

Hopefully our decision-makers have learned the necessary lessons and will walk away readily from this insane demand.  Yahya Sinwar was released in a trade!! To release Barghouti would be to invite terror.


It is noteworthy here that Barghouti’s association is with Fatah, not Hamas. What we are seeing is a Hamas ploy to further its popularity among the Arabs in the PA and to forge a connection with the PA.  Imagine what Hamas would be able to demand of the PA if they were to secure the release of a Fatah hero.  Already there is talk in the PLO of incorporating Hamas as one faction.


At any rate, as I write, an Israeli source is saying that the possibility of a deal on the hostages is only about 50% and Qatar is saying a decision by Hamas might take weeks.

On Thursday, Majed Mohammed al-Ansari, a spokesman for the Qatari foreign ministry said that suggestions that had been put on the table were consolidated into one proposal.

This proposal represents “a general understanding of [what] the next parts of the coming humanitarian pause would look like. But it does not include a lot of the details that still need to be discussed.

There is a rough road ahead of us.”  The situation is very “fluid.”   


How different this statement is from the impression lent by many media sources that a deal is very imminent!!  A lesson to be learned here.


For some time, we have been seeing rallies by family members here in Israel demanding the release of the hostages without regard for the cost. As I have indicated before, I am convinced that these rallies – no matter how sincerely intentioned – strengthened the bargaining position of Hamas.

But now voices are being raised on the other side. One of those voices is that of Tzvika Mor, whose son Eitan, 23, a security guard at the Supernova Festival, was kidnapped by Hamas Oct. 7. 

Credit: vinnews

Said Mor, “I tend to think that Israel should not negotiate with terrorists, but if we must, I want us to get the best deal possible, not just for the hostages and their families but for all the citizens of Israel.” (Emphasis added)

He co-founded the Tikva Forum, which includes 30 families of hostages.  The forum’s mission, he said, is to have Israel act as a strong state that does not fold before Hamas or other terrorist organizations, regardless of the circumstances. “We must keep the best interests of the Israeli people in mind and safeguard them. If we surrender to Hamas, terrible things will happen in the years to come.”


According to a recent poll by channel 12, 50% of Israelis are opposed to a deal if it includes release of a large number of terrorists and an extended pause in fighting.  Only 35% favor this, with 15% undecided.


Before moving on, I share this (emphasis added):

“Washington is hoping that a ceasefire deal will lead to a permanent halt to hostilities in the Gaza Strip, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

U.S. negotiators are pushing for a cease-fire deal that could stop the war in Gaza long enough to stall Israel’s military momentum and potentially set the stage for a more lasting truce, according to the Journal report, which cited U.S. and Arab officials familiar with the talks.” 


US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield has just said:

“…We have been working tirelessly with Qatar, Egypt and other regional partners on a strong, compelling proposal.”  Other regional partners?

“…If accepted and implemented, this proposal would move all parties one step closer to creating the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities.”  (Emphasis added)


This is not a surprise, not to anyone who has been watching. We see Biden posing less and less as Israel’s supporter as US elections draw close.  At this point he has chosen to forget that for Israel the goal of this war is not a sustainable cessation of hostilities, but the elimination of a genocidal Hamas.

Sanity in this instance calls for facing the reality of US betrayal head on, and acknowledging the disgust and anger this situation evokes.  A “more lasting truce” means setting Hamas free to attack again.

And now we learn that Secretary of State Blinken is coming yet again this week. His fifth visit since the war, I believe. He will be visiting a number of countries in the region.

Unquestionably, he will attempt to push us in the direction in which the US thinks we should go.

May Heaven strengthen the spine of our prime minister and all members of our government.


Another issue that could drive one to distraction is the confusion as to what will happen to UNRWA, now that its cooperation with Hamas has been exposed and some 14 or more nations have paused in their funding.  

We are being told by some that there is no alternative agency to replace UNRWA in distributing humanitarian aid in Gaza, (Schwarz and Weinberg, cited below, say there are alternatives).

There are sources saying that UNRWA must continue to operate in Gaza so that humanitarian aid doesn’t stop, which would rebound badly on Israel – causing the war to stop.  And sources saying that there are other ways to handle the situation.  One suggestion being floated is that the IDF handle distribution, establishing pick-up centers where civilians would be able to come to secure needed supplies.



According to Ronen Bar, head of the Shin Bet: ”60-70% of the aid trucks are either stolen outright or just emptied of their contents by Hamas.

Credit: Yossi Zeliger

This is an incredible statistic. Best described as crazy.

If utilizing direct distribution centers thwarts the Hamas theft, it would, at one and the same time, put the civilians in a better humanitarian situation and make it more difficult for Hamas to keep fighting.  This is particularly true with regard to the fuel they need.


Dr. Adi Schwartz and David M. Weinberg, senior fellows at the Misgav Institute for National Security & Zionist Strategy, have authorized a piece called, “10 myths about UNRWA you may have mistakenly believed.”


I recommend seeing the entire piece, but highlight critical points here (emphasis added):

Myth: UNRWA is a UN organization.

“Well, technically it is, but in fact, UNRWA is a Palestinian outfit with Palestinian employees and Palestinian objectives. Of its 13,000 employees in Gaza, 99% are Palestinian, alongside a tiny number of international employees who cover for Palestinian corruption and Islamic radicalism. It is a Palestinian boondoggle.”

Myth: UNRWA is a relief organization for Palestinians.

“This has not been true for many years. UNRWA provides little food or humanitarian aid. The vast majority of its budget is devoted to Palestinian schools and hospitals, which is an anomaly without precedent anywhere else in the world.

“There is no other UN organization that covers health and education costs for almost an entire population – in place of its local government. UNRWA runs the relevant institutions and pays the bills throughout Gaza, instead of Hamas having to provide health, education, and welfare for its own constituents. Hamas relies on UNRWA and its Western donors to operate core provinces of Gazan government, leaving Hamas scot-free to build terror attack tunnels and camp out in underground military bunkers for war against Israel.”

Myth: UNRWA can be fixed.

“UNRWA needs more than an ‘urgent audit,’ as the EU reluctantly mumbled this week, and much more than ‘enhanced due diligence and other oversight mechanisms,’ as one unfriendly-to-Israel congressman grudgingly called for.

UNRWA needs to be abolished so that Gaza’s transition away from aid and toward economic development, and away from genocidal fantasies and toward peace building can begin quickly. It is certainly true that the current division of labor – UNRWA services above ground, Hamas terror operations below ground and from within UNRWA facilities – cannot continue.

“This requires different international actors that can develop productive industry and jobs in Gaza, and that can lead the construction and operation of civilian services. International funding may still be necessary, but it should be administered by foreign governments directly and by different organizations that are subject to continuous oversight and rigorous accountability.”

Myth: UNRWA is the most efficient way to deliver assistance to Palestinians.

No, it certainly is not, and not just because UNRWA lets Hamas run off with lots of goods. There are far more efficient, less corrupt, and less grossly political aid agencies, some of which already are present in Gaza…that can be mobilized to replace UNRWA. This includes USAID, UNICEF, and the World Food Programme. They could all do the work without succumbing to Palestinian legerdemain.”


I close today with encouraging thoughts from Hillel Fuld, who has walked away from his hi-tech job and is now strongly focused on fighting lies about Israel and Jews on social media.  His message is for all of us. (Emphasis added)

Fuld sees part of his mission as spreading hope and optimism.

“We are all devastated and in mourning. We could use any optimism we can get…”

He isn’t too concerned about the “crazies”—the “Heil Hitler folks,” as he calls them—because “I’m not going to get through to them.”

There are those who are already pro-Israel, already convinced. That they are on-board is not sufficient, Fuld tells us: They “need reinforcement and strengthening and ammunition. More accurate information [and] the ability to debunk lies and answer questions.”

In addition, there are people who are critical of Israel but have integrity, and “are willing to hear, listen and see the other side…They need that information, and they need to know that the side that hates Israel is feeding them propaganda.

“…Everyone can do something,” he insists. “People should not underestimate their ability to impact and influence [others].”

Fuld says when people share something he put out on social media, “I’m out of my echo chamber. I don’t have access to those people.” 


Credit: World Mizrachi

“I try to remind people that we will dance again,” he concludes, to which I add a hearty amen.

Please, my friends, remember these words when you are asked to share my posts or specific information contained within them.  You are not wasting your time.  This is how you can help.  Ask Hillel Fuld.


Keep praying to Heaven for Israel, my friends.  Pray for the strength and wisdom of our leaders, for the safety of our boys, and for the rescue of our hostages.  Pray with a heart filled with hope.


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.