A recent New York Times article goes into detail about the financial machinations of Hamas over the last decade and posits that the Israeli government and Benjamin Netanyahu not only knew about the hundreds of millions of dollars that were being funneled into Hamas but allowed it to happen in the hope that financial success in Gaza would keep the peace.
Written by Jo Becker, the article uses many sources, including ex-Mossad personnel. Becker is an investigative reporter for the Times, having won Pulitzer Prizes for exposing Dick Cheney’s hidden power in 2008, for a series of articles in 2017 about Vladimir Putin’s efforts to undermine the 2016 election, and for stories in 2018 about Russian influence on the Trump administration. She additionally wrote a book in 2014 about “marriage equality,” detailing the legal battle to get same-sex marriage before the Supreme Court. The book was endorsed by LGBT activist David Mixner for “capturing our struggle for freedom perfectly”.
What matters about this New York Times article is not whether it is accurate or not. The reality is that it is a distraction from what is important. The information in it doesn’t matter: our response needs to be the same whether it is accurate or inaccurate. The information that she shares in the article must be ignored… for now.
But, Rabbi, you may ask, how can we ignore something like this? It is possible that their funding sources contributed greatly to allowing Hamas to attack? We have to hold people responsible, and there must be investigations.
There will be a time to investigate Becker’s findings. But that is not–and cannot–be now.
Whatever mistakes were made in the past are inconsequential right now. Israel is at war with a truly evil enemy. An enemy that must not only be defeated but utterly destroyed. As long as Hamas exists in any form, their commitment to the destruction of Israel also exists; and like Amalek, Hamas must have “their remembrance be blotted off the earth” (Deut. 25:19). We must remember that Israel is just the front line in their war against the world in an attempt to create a global Islamic theocracy.
We have a war for our survival to win right now. We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted by anything that takes us away from that goal.
George Tenet, the director of the CIA at the time of the Sept. 11 attack by al Qaeda, publicly admitted that U.S. intelligence officials knew “something very, very big” was about to happen, and that “the system was blinking red.” Hessian Colonel Johann Rall knew in advance that Washington was going to launch a surprise attack on Trenton in 1776. Many sources demonstrate that American governmental officials, and possibly even President Roosevelt himself, knew in advance that Japan was going to attack Pearl Harbor.
But in those times and others like them, people were wise enough to realize that first the war needed to be won, and only after that victory could an evaluation of mistakes be investigated.
The primary goal is to win this war and destroy Hamas. There will be time after that victory to analyze mistakes that were made that allowed the horrors of October 7 to occur. We can all be assured that Israel will thoroughly investigate mistakes, and correct them so that they never happen again. Undoubtedly there will be Israeli officials who will be ousted. There are many questions beyond financial funding: What happened to intel? Why were soldiers not where they could/should have been? Why was Israel unprepared?
But those questions cannot be asked now. Right now, we must handle the task at hand: to decidedly win this war, destroy Hamas, and, with God’s help, hopefully get any hostages still alive back to their homes and families.
Anything that takes us away from that goal is detrimental. We must be present in the moment… a moment of war for the survival of Israel and the free world.
Throughout the Bible, people are asked by God, “Ayecha?”– which means “where are you?” The biblical characters answer, “Hineni!”– which means “I am present!”. We each need to be present in this current moment: a moment of war with evil. We cannot let ourselves be distracted from being present with what is directly in front of us and needs to be dealt with.
With all respect to Ms. Becker and her investigative skills, I pray that she and this article are entirely ignored until after the war is finished and Hamas is destroyed. Otherwise, it becomes fodder to hurt the war effort — a price that we cannot afford.
May we all have the wisdom to keep our intentions focused on the goal; succeed in that goal; and then, and only then, explore what Ms. Becker has investigated.