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Near Gaza border, Pompeo rejects Biden charge IDF war with Hamas is ‘over the top’ – defends Israeli actions as ‘necessary & appropriate’

Evangelical says Israel battling sheer ‘evil,’ vows to ‘pray for all the Israeli people’

Joel Rosenberg asks former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a question at a press conference at the site of Nova music festival massacre (Photo: ALL ISRAEL NEWS)

RE’IM, ISRAEL – Here all week on a solidarity trip to Israel, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife, Susan, toured three southern Israeli communities close to the Gaza border on Tuesday, visiting sites that Hamas terrorists invaded on October 7.

Pompeo said that he and his wife needed to see for themselves where the worst atrocities against Israeli civilians since the foundation of the country in May 1948 were committed.

In addition to touring the devastation of Kibbutz Kfar Aza, and meeting with hundreds of IDF soldiers in the town of Ofakim, the Pompeos – accompanied by their host, Knesset Member Danny Danon, who previously served as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations – came here to Re’im, where the Nova Music Festival was held last October, with more than 3,000 young Israelis attending.

Knesset Member Danny Danon and former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a question at a press conference at the site of Nova music festival massacre (Photo: ALL ISRAEL NEWS)

On that 'Black Sabbath,' this is where Hamas terrorists murdered 340 Israelis, and kidnapped 40 more, taking them as hostages back into the Gaza Strip.

After arriving with their large security detail at the beautiful, pastoral parkland – dotted with thousands of freshly blooming red poppies – the Pompeos silently walked through the site where makeshift memorials have been erected, including hundreds of photographs of those who were slaughtered in the massacre.

They were briefed by military officials who explained exactly what had happened here in Re’im and how security forces responded.

Afterwards, Secretary Pompeo held a press conference for Israeli and foreign reporters, and did several one-on-one interviews, including with ALL ISRAEL NEWS.


Pompeo said there is a dramatic difference between reading about the events of October 7 and visiting the actual sites of the attacks. 

“This is sacred ground,” he told reporters.

“To see the pictures of these young people reminds my wife and me, Susan, so much of our family and the families who lost loved ones here. And we pray for the souls of those lost and the families who remember them.”

“It is also, as you walk this field, never far from my mind that not far from where we are standing there are hostages still being held. Some of them are U.S. citizens. Some of them are citizens of other places. All are people who are being held in awful conditions by barbarians.”

“The obligation of the world to ensure that they are returned here just as quickly as possible to their families is very much on my heart and that of my wife, Susan.”

“Evil remains” in this world, Pompeo noted.

Joel Rosenberg interviews former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the site of Nova music festival massacre (Photo: ALL ISRAEL NEWS)

“And those of us who stand guard, those of us with the responsibility to provide security against this evil, have a continuous duty. That obligation didn't end on October 7. It continues to this day.”

“I pray that the world will continue to support Israel, the brave soldiers who are fighting just behind us, and permit them to do what is necessary to ensure that events like this can never happen again. It is our duty, it is our responsibility, and we take it most seriously.”

“We pray for all the people of Israel,” Pompeo said as he wrapped up his initial remarks.

Joel and Lynn Rosenberg at the site of Nova music festival massacre (Photo: ALL ISRAEL NEWS)

Susan Pompeo told us that she is also praying non-stop for Israel.

She’s also encouraging the women in her Bible study back in the U.S. to do the same.

“We have to overcome this evil and not be afraid,” Mrs. Pompeo said.

We have to be “as courageous as we can be.”

“Just know we are praying.”

The site of Nova music festival massacre (Photo: ALL ISRAEL NEWS)


I asked the former CIA director to comment on the two hostages who were rescued by Israeli forces in the wee hours of Monday morning.

“This was an intelligence failure on October 7,” I noted. “But it was pretty dramatic. intelligence and military success yesterday.”

Pompeo agreed, calling the rescue “great news.”

He said some of his best moments as Secretary of State “was when we were able to get hostages released” and brought back to American soil.

“For the nation of Israel, it has to be incredibly joyous” to get these two hostages back home,” he said, though he added that he and all Israelis are simultaneously “mindful that there still remain dozens and dozens of hostages that are being held.”

“So, great work by the broader intelligence community in the IDF, brave soldiers and warriors,” he said, but there is “much work left to do.”

He said some of his best moments as secretary were when he could help bring American hostages back home. 

Knesset Member Danny Danon at a press conference at the site of Nova music festival massacre (Photo: ALL ISRAEL NEWS)


At one point, a reporter asked Pompeo about his views on the planned operation to finish Hamas off in Rafah, and about U.S. President Joe Biden's harsh criticism of Israeli, saying that the IDF’s response to Hamas in Gaza has been “over the top.”

Pompeo was quick to defend Israel.

“Israel's response to what took place on October 7th is perfectly appropriate,” he said, “and more importantly, necessary.”

Pompeo also addressed the issue of "the day after" in Gaza saying that “the central thesis” has to be Israel’s security. 

“It cannot be that a people would live their lives with the risk that something like what happened on October 7 could happen again,” he said.

“We wouldn't permit that in the United States,” Pompeo stated. 

Knesset Member Danny Danon and former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a question at a press conference at the site of Nova music festival massacre (Photo: ALL ISRAEL NEWS)


Pompeo said he believes the “Iranian leadership” is behind the October 7th attacks.

He chose not to directly condemn President Biden’s foreign policy on the issue here in Re’im, saying, “This is not the place to have that conversation.” 

“We should be mindful that what happened on October 7th is a symptom of the challenge that the Islamic Republic of Iran brings,” Pompeo stated. 

“I think the world needs to remember that whether it's what's taking place in the Red Sea today or the fights that are going to occur around Rafah, that in the background is the Iranian leadership, it is Iranian training, it is Iranian money.” 

“The Israeli government should not permit that threat to remain upon them either. And so whatever, however, the political solution is for governance in Gaza, it needs to have as the central thesis, Israeli security.” 

Pompeo called the failure of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency – whose mission is supposed to be to provide humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people – “mind-boggling.”

“UNRWA is an organization that failed to do its central mission.” 

He referred to the Trump administration’s decision to stop funding UNRWA, and lamented, “I regret that we [the Biden team] have returned to that model.” 

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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