My message to the non-Hebrew speakers. Feel free to share.
Until Saturday I was Stav Bartel. From then and until further notice I am Chief Sergeant Stav Bartel, fighter in the IDF 7109 reserve infantry battalion.
I would like to share that since Saturday morning I am in near the front in Gaza, fighting against the barbarian invasion of Hamas. I want to bless all who genuinely strive to know the truth. Do not back down and don’t let the cynics shove irrelevant pseudo-rationales that would downplay the scale of this crime. There are numerous reports all over the media from reliable sources. These events are unfolding and Western media begin to realize them much later than needed. Do not let anyone decive you.
Lots of my friends and acquaintances had their loved ones were butchered. The enemy is cynically denying anything they themselves filmed doing. Don’t legitimize this. Hamas is evil, don’t fall into that stupid relativistic attitude, that attempts to show the “other side” of Hamas. See the true pictures from Gaza, the voice of the Gazans, but not the voice of Hamas. A group that launches an attack that massacres, butchers innocent men, women and babies, a group that burns houses with civilians trapped inside, forcing them to flee and then massacring them. My friends told me the TERRORISTS were piling bodies from the festival with a tractor and tried to burn them.
A family member of a friend of mine was raped three times. Others were abducted. An acquaintance of mine told me she hid in a bunker after the attack on the rave party, luckily left to treat the wounded, and she saw the terrorists throwing grenades into the bunkers. Her friends were injured, others killed. She carried them wounded under fire. I’ve received these testimonies already on Saturday morning. At the kibbutzim, babies were abducted, others killed, choked, and beheaded. Grandmothers were abducted, entire families were wiped out. This is not an IDF assault from air on a building used by Hamas, housing civilians as human shields. And this is no mistake. There is no way to compare. None of these people were a threat to anyone, they were not next to IDF troops. And this attack had no military objective. This is not a legitimate response to anything, not a proper way to deal with occupation or blockade. There is absolutely no way to justify any of this.
This was done by hands. This is not arresting Palestinian rioters. I’ve done it countless times during my service. Never, NEVER through my entire service have we ever treated an arrested Palestinian that way. We never beat them, never torture them. Never hurt them for fun. Quite the contrary. And if any of my soldiers mistreated them I would stop them immediately. We were always told, the IDF’s morals are the Purity of Arms, the Value of Human Life. We have been attacked so many times, we were equipped with guns and could massacre the masses, but we never did. We suffered rocks and molotov cocktails, got injured but never lost our humanity. Never tortured. I have always had a soft spot for Palestinian children, when entering their homes, I hated the idea of their fear. I often comforted them. And also during the checkpoints. Countless times we laughed with them, gave them high fives. We treated them as human.
I know the situation in for the Palestinians is not good. I know it is far from right. We are not blind to it. And more often then not I’ve regretted our governments. It is complicated. I believe they deserve to live good lives just like we do.
But Hamas are not true representatives of the Palestinians. They are a proxy of Iran, they are a lunatic, ultra-religious murderous organization. They portray themselves as the weak, freedom fighters, but in truth, they are just thugs. All of them. We are no saints, but they are the devil. While we sometimes fall in judgment, they have no morals in the first place. They celebrate death, cheer for the sight of fire and destruction and enjoy the smell of blood. They are animals and they have always been, ever since they started with the suicide bombings. And Hezbollah and the PIJ and all other TERRORIST Organizations are no different.
I woke up on Saturday with a rocket barrage on my city, Tel Aviv, in the metropolitan area of 3 million people was attacked. A rocket fell in my neighborhood, where there is no military presence, no strategic sites. Just civilians. Soon we received the reports of terrorists armed for an all out war, rampaging through cities and villages, butchering people, desecrating their bodies and burning houses. We saw the videos of thousands of people fleeing from the festival. And there are stories I’ve heard that I can’t yet process. I am unable to even think about them. So much blood and gore on the most innocent of lives.
No more than 6 hours later, I was already on my way south to arm up with hundreds of other reservists in my unit. Some of them I’ve never seen, people who did not show up to previous reserve activity for years have showed up. 300 thousand Israelis showed up.
This is the largest deployment in the country’s history. This is how eager we are to defend our homeland. And civilians are doing circle in the air just to provide us with food and equipment. Everyone joined, not a single soul in Israel remained indifferent. Jews, Drzue, Christians, Arabs, Bedouin, people who just a few seconds ago only saw their differences, have all united against evil.
There is no question here, Hamas must be eradicated, just like ISIS. And what they have done is as big a crime against Israel as it is to the Palestinians. They have done nothing but bring on death and destruction on themselves, and we haven’t started yet.
I am now near the front, thwarting continuous infiltration attempts. They try and fail. Dozens of terrorist were killed. They are getting weaker and weaker and we are getting stronger and braver. They keep shooting on civilians. Rockets are falling near us, exploding over our heads. But our spirit is strong, we are strongly united, brothers and sisters, from all over the country, religious, secular, rich, poor… And the ground is shaking below our feet front our air force pounding of the devil’s den.
While their leaders are hiding in bunkers, some of our leaders, members of the Knesset, have showed up, volunteered to join the fighting units. My battalion commander, who lives in a kibbutz just next to the strip, who was abroad at the time, has lost his 18-year-old son, and before burying or even seeing him, he decided to take a flight, show up and help in whatever he can, even though he was given the option to stay home and weep. This is the spirit of our country. And we have no other land to go to. This is our secret weapon. We have one homeland.
My Israeli friends from across the world all began organizing donations, others have bought tickets, cutting their trips by months and came back to recruit. My little cousins set up stations to collect food and supplies from civilians for the soldiers. My family is doing anything they can and so everyone else.
I have gave much thought about my grandparents who fought the Nazi attempt to eradicate them, and others who suffered persecution anywhere they’ve been. Here we are united together, we have the right and duty to help ourselves. And we will do that for eternity. We cannot be beaten, and whoever will challenge us will be destroyed.
I am no religious person, but now more than ever the words Am Yisrael Chai are inscribed on my heart.
I hope to come back as well as possible, to tell our story.