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CATASTROPHE: Israeli death toll now 800 – to understand emotional impact, that’s like 26,000 Americans dying in 72 hours

Here’s what Israelis are going though in our own version of 9/11 and Pearl Harbor

Family and friends attend the funeral of IDF soldier David Shila who was killed during Operation Iron Swords, at Mt. Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem, Oct. 8, 2023. (Photo: Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – Moments ago, the Israeli government confirmed that more 800 Israeli civilians have been killed by Hamas terrorists since they launched this war at 6:30 on Saturday morning.

At the same time, more than 2,200 Israelis have been wounded, many of them seriously.

Each of these deaths and injuries is absolutely horrific for the individuals affected, and their families and friends.

But the scale of this disaster is having a profound emotional impact on Israeli society as a whole.

Don’t get me wrong: Israelis are resilient – we have been through war and terror for more than 75 years, and by the grace of God we will recover and prevail over our enemies.

Families of civilians abducted by the terrorist organization Hamas hold a press conference in Kfar Maccabiah, Ramat Gan, Oct. 8, 2023. (Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

But I want to help you understand the magnitude of what we’re facing.

Israel is a small country of just under 10 million people.

And it feels like a small town where everybody knows everybody – not literally, of course, but that’s how it feels.

Lynn and I call it “Mayberry,” after the small TV town that Andy Griffith, Barnie and Opie lived in during the old, black and white, “Andy Griffith Show,” whose reruns we watched as kids growing up in the U.S.

Wherever we are in the country, we run into people we know and stop and chat with them.

And when bad news happens in one part of the country, we feel it in every other part of the country.

When we hear of someone dying in an accident or an isolated terror attack, we quickly check to see if we know that person or their community of family and friends.

And we pray for them, and grieve for them, and think, “But for the grace of God, that could have been us.”

It’s different living here than in the United States.

America is a vast, continental country.

America has a population of some 330 million people.

That means the U.S. population is 33 times larger than Israel.

Lynn and I were born and raised in America.

It’s a country we love very deeply, but it is certainly not a small town.

So, an individual death in this city or that – this state or that – is terrible, but it doesn’t necessarily affect the rest of the country emotionally.

Israeli security and rescue forces at the scene where a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit buildings and cars in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod, Oct. 9, 2023. (Photo: Liron Moldovan/Flash90)

Mass casualty attacks in the U.S. make big headlines.

They shock us terribly and can move us to compassion for those affected.

But nothing like what happened on Sept. 11, 2001.

That day, nearly 3,000 Americans were murdered by al Qaeda terrorists.

That day, air traffic stopped.

The world seemed to stop.

Everyone was watching TV, calling friends, checking on loved ones, sheltering in place, and praying for God’s mercy.

That’s what is happening here right now.

Saturday, Oct. 7, was Israel’s 9/11.

It was Israel’s Pearl Harbor.

It was an attack so brutal, so bloody, and so unexpected that the entire nation is in shock.

We are grieving.

And we are angry.

More than 800 Israelis are dead.

More than 2,200 are wounded.

Our government failed to protect us.

We’ll find out why later – and believe me, we will demand honest answers.

Right now, though, the entire country is on war footing.

We are at war – and the days ahead look very dark, at least for a long stretch.

A convoy of armored personnel carrier on a main road in northern Israel, Oct. 9, 2023. (Photo: David Cohen/Flash90)

Now, if you’re an American, imagine how you and your family would feel if 26,400 of your fellow Americans were killed in a 72 hour period.

Imagine the emotional body blow.

Imagine the news coverage.

Imagine the grieving and the anger and the urgency of going to war and getting justice.

That’s the scale of the emotional impact that we’re facing here.

And we know the death toll is only going to climb.

Especially if we have to go into a full scale ground war in the Gaza Strip.

Plus, we know that the media and the international community will turn against us.

They will make it seem like all of this is our fault, not that of Hamas.

They will try to cheapen the death of Jewish souls.

But I ask every Christian in the United States, Canada and around the world to stand with us.

Pray for us without ceasing.

Give financially to ALL ISRAEL NEWS so we can report the truth and provide analysis from a biblical worldview to counter the lies and slander of so many in the mainstream media.

Give financially to a ministry like The Joshua Fund to bless Israel in our moment of greatest need.

And fight against the lies that will be told on social media.

This is the biggest war Israel has faced in a generation.

And we need you with us.

Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.

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