War in Israel


When I was in high school, and later in college, I learned about the atrocities and genocide of Adolph Hitler’s Germany. Both the instructors and students expressed disbelief and confusion and asked, “How could a civilized people allow such things?” A secondary question was, “How could the individual soldiers participate in such brutality and heinous behavior?”

It was in college that I learned that the same brutality and inhumanity of the Japanese Empire and its soldiers were also commonplace. Again, how could a civilized people treat other people so horribly? We comforted ourselves in the naive assumption that the world had learned its lessons, and such a thing would never happen again. But happen again it did … over and over and over.

Last Saturday morning, the Sabbath day in Israel and for Jews around the world, soldiers of the Islamic terrorist group, Hamas, breached the border between Israel and Gaza in two dozen places and carried out a brutal and vicious sneak attack on tourists and Israeli civilians.

Within a short time, over 260 people lay dead. The killing spree continued with, as of yesterday morning, 1,100 killed, with at least 2,500 wounded or injured. An unknown number, perhaps 100, were kidnapped and held hostage.

Overwhelming the Israeli “iron dome” missile defense system with almost 4,000 rockets fired at civilian targets, Israel scrambled to order its soldiers to the border and activated 350,000 members of the Israel Defense Forces. Eleven Americans are confirmed killed with others perhaps in the group taken as hostages to Gaza. Israeli officials called it “Our Pearl Harbor,” and “Our 9/11.”

People visiting a music festival were gunned down in cold blood. Hamas terrorists turned their guns on people in automobiles killing entire families. Other Hamas went door to door killing women, children, the elderly, and anyone else in the home. One pregnant woman was shot through the stomach and killed with her dead baby lying near her, the umbilical cord still attached.

Disturbingly, there were those in the international community that took the side of Hamas. In Australia, almost immediately, a demonstration against Israel formed and included signs held up that read, “Gas the Jews!” Other pro-Hamas demonstrations were held in several democratic countries. One United States Congresswoman boldly placed a Palestinian flag outside her office in apparent solidarity with the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity.

Almost before Israel could retaliate, there were calls for a cease-fire by so-called “Squad” members in Congress. To her credit, according to the Washington Examiner, “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) broke with her often-aligned group of hard-line progressive representatives Monday, denouncing ‘hatred and antisemitism’ on display at a Sunday New York City rally that celebrated the recent terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas.”

As of this writing, the situation is extremely fluid. Iran is accused of supplying, arming, and training Hamas for this attack. Israel and the United States are being chastised for a massive intelligence failure. Whether or not other Islamic terror groups will join the fight is uncertain. There are concerns that the war could expand, drawing in nations.

President Joe Biden deployed the USS Gerald R. Ford, the US Navy’s most advanced aircraft carrier, six other ships and a number of advanced jets to the Eastern Mediterranean, as Israel’s allies, including the UK, rallied to its defense.

Kenneth W. Stein, professor emeritus at Emory University, known for studying the Arab–Israeli conflict, in both historical and social-economic context, was interviewed yesterday on Atlanta’s WSB radio.

Dr. Stein noted that a guiding principle of groups like Hamas is that there is no room for compromise because they have taken the position that Israel has no right to exist. For them, it’s not about Palestinian statehood or territory. If Dr. Stein is correct, it’s about the total defeat of Israel and the genocide of the Jews.

The earlier questions posed were, “How could a civilized people allow such things?” A secondary question was, “How could the individual soldiers participate in such brutality and heinous behavior?”

In Gaza, as in Germany, the average citizen had very little to say about it once Hitler, or Hamas, was in power. As far as the German soldiers were concerned, they had either been forced to participate or had bought into the ideology. Whatever the reason with the Hamas personnel who murdered Jewish families in cold blood, Israel will not let this stand. The only sure thing at this moment is that blood will continue to flow.

Psalm 122:6 — “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem”

[David Epps is the Rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King (www.ctk.life). Worship services are on Sundays at 10:00 a.m. and on livestream at www.ctk.life. He is the bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-South (www.midsouthdiocese.life). He may be contacted at davidepps@ctk.life.]


  1. Rev. Epps – I find your comments very apropos in describing the horrors in Israel of late. I also find your insight that people unwilling to compromise with rivals can very easily dehumanize the other side as happened last week, in the 1930s and 1940s, and countless other times in human history.

    My fear is that the current political culture in the United States is following the “no compromise” imperative so clearly that each end of the political spectrum is viewing people on the other end as enemies without worth. When this happened in our country in 1861, over 700,000 people lost their lives trying to eradicate the evil other, so don’t say that it can’t happen here.

    The Founders recognized compromise as a political solution, not as a surrender. I hope we all remember that when casting votes for elected officials. Electing hard-liners of any persuasion is a recipe for ultimate failure and dehumanization. Learn this from Hitler or Hamas.