Americans awakened Saturday morning, Oct. 7 – almost 50 years to the day of the Oct. 6 Yom Kippur War in 1973 – to scenes of Hamas rocket attacks in the State of Israel. Network television reports included video footage of firefights in southern Israel as militants breached the “smart wall” along the border with Gaza.
Even more disturbing, as initial American media coverage unfolded, were unconfirmed reports on CNN, FOX News Channel and MSNBC of Hamas fighters allegedly capturing an IDF soldier who was pulled from a burning tank.
Other updates claimed that citizens in villages near the border with Gaza were barricaded in their safe rooms as militants were banging on the doors of their homes attempting to gain entry and capture civilians. CNN added that Hamas claimed to have captured an ambulance operated by Israel’s national emergency medical service, Magen David Adom, and driven it back into Gaza.
Almost immediately, some talking heads on TV in the U.S. began blaming the victims in this surprise attack on the Simchat Torah holiday with questions like, “How did Israel not see this coming?” Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formally convened a Council of War and declared “We are at war, and we will win it.”
It goes without saying that those of us who love Israel immediately began praying fervently that this brutal attack – cowardly launched on Shabbat – will be crushed quickly by the IDF. However, two aspects of this sudden conflict are especially disturbing.
First, the obviously coordinated incursions into Israel while over 2,000 rocket attacks were also launched in the first six hours of this unfolding crisis, have stunned families in Jerusalem and throughout the nation. Joel Rosenberg, founder and editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS, called Saturday’s moves by Hamas “the worst attacks I’ve ever seen in nine years of living here.”
Terrorism and Israeli casualties are the very last thing the Middle East needed.
Secondly, some anchors and reporters from American media outlets immediately shifting blame on the victims is – while predictable – clearly myopic and hateful. Sitting safely in a television studio on the other side of the world while bombs are dropping and Israeli families are being terrorized is not the time for Monday morning quarterbacking by uninformed and biased media.
This initial American media coverage stands in stark contrast to the worldwide sympathy and support for the United States in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in September 2001. At that time, even the French newspaper Le Monde ran a front-page headline declaring Nous sommes tous Americains (“We are all Americans now”).
Media instantly analyzing and criticizing what may have led to these dastardly attacks or how they might have been prevented only serves to aid and comfort the forces of evil who plotted Saturday’s sneak attacks.
Initial American TV coverage is prima facie evidence of why most opinion polls continue to show that trust in the media is at rock bottom. An October 2022 Gallup poll reported that only 34% of Americans trusted mass media to “fully, accurately and fairly” report the news. Even worse, according to Gallup, 28% of U.S. adults say they do not have any confidence at all in newspapers, TV and radio.
Rather than second-guessing the Netanyahu government (there will be plenty of time to analyze and consider “what might have been done” after the carnage ends), Saturday’s Hamas attacks immediately brought to my mind the Japanese attacks on American military personnel and ships at Pearl Harbor which prompted the United States to roar into World War II.
Ironically, I’m reading a new book by T. Martin Bennett titled Wounded Tiger. It profiles Mitsuo Fuchida, who was handpicked by Japan’s naval commander, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, to lead the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. The volume is a cautionary tale of Fuchida’s blind obedience to his leaders and how his ambition for the glory of Japan, instead, drove him and his nation to devastating ruin.
God, however, was not finished with Fuchida. Years later, after reading a Bible lent to him by a friend, he was deeply moved by the story of Christ forgiving those who had crucified him…and chose to return to Japan and devote himself to missionary work.
Fuchida’s transformation from one of history’s darkest villains to an Evangelist who traveled the world and was even befriended by the Rev. Dr. Billy Graham offers us hope that – as Scripture reveals – “With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
In the wake of Saturday’s massive missile attacks and terrorists bulldozing their way through security perimeters on the border with Gaza, it might be easy to forget those words Jesus uttered. Or to think even Hamas radicals cannot be redeemed.
But on this 50th anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and only a few weeks until the 82nd anniversary of the December 1941 attacks on Pearl Harbor, in addition to crushing the attackers, we should also have hope that the hearts of those who see Israel as their enemy will eventually be softened and lasting peace will come.
Always remember: “With God all things are possible.”
Tom is a contributing editor for ALL ISRAEL NEWS. He has long served as vice president of News & Talk Programming for the Salem Radio Network and SRN News, the #1 Christian radio news network in the United States.