Editorial: The Oct. 7 Hamas massacre and its fallout
By Michelle Zalmanowitz, Contributor
On the morning of Oct. 7 2023, an unprecedented brutal surprise attack was launched on Israel by the internationally recognized terrorist organization, Hamas. They viciously murdered, beheaded, raped, and kidnapped babies, children, adults and the elderly as they unleashed devastating violence on Israeli citizens of all religions, seeking to inflict as much terror on civilians as possible.
As questions arise and people seek to understand and educate themselves about what is happening around the world in the wake of the Oct. 7 massacre, a look into the atrocities that transpired on that day and what follows in its wake, helps to build collective understanding of the conflict.
On the morning of Oct. 7, Hamas terrorists began a surprise invasion on Israel, tearing down large sections of the security fence around Gaza using tractors, RPGs, explosives and brute force. Over 3,000 Hamas terrorists successfully broke through the fence in vehicles and on foot, others used motorized paragliders to fly over the fence, and some invaded through sea.
The Hamas terrorists split up and made their way to 22 towns known as Kibbutzim and Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) bases nearby Gaza. That is when the massacre began. They swiftly and violently invaded the Kibbutzim and bases, shooting everything in sight while filming the terror attack, glorifying the atrocities committed. Hamas dragged people from their cars and broke into civilian homes, burning, raping, beheading and shooting Israelis: Muslims and Jews, newborn and old, and even family pets. Terrorists forced people at gunpoint to lure their own families out of safe-rooms, to their deaths. Pictures of the terrorists joyously posing for photos on-top of freshly killed Israelis, some clutching loved ones, with brains and blood still pouring from their bodies, were also shared from that day. These testimonies can be found online with ease.
Simultaneously, Hamas terrorists in Gaza began firing 3,000 rockets into south and central Israeli civilian targets and infrastructure, aiming to maximize the loss of Israeli life. At 6:30 a.m. local time, air sirens around the entire country of Israel were sounding, alerting those who could hear them that an attack was in progress and to immediately take cover in a bomb shelter, if possible.
Near Gaza, attendees of the Nova Music Festival stopped revelling due to those sirens. They attempted to evacuate as terrorists stormed the festival grounds. The terrorists fired indiscriminately through the crowds of thousands of civilians who’d come from all over the world to celebrate “unity and love” through music. Witness accounts of the attack speak to the celebration of depravity the terrorists enjoyed. Many of the attendees never reached safety. Numerous people were abducted as hostages. Over 260 abused, decapitated, and burned bodies were later found in the area of the festival, mostly belonging to innocent youth.
On Oct. 7, over 1,200 Israeli civilians were horrifically murdered, roughly 6,700 grievously injured, and 250+ were brutally abducted, including many foreign nationals. Hamas terrorists briefly took control of 10 Israeli towns, savagely annihilating residents, raping young women, and parading their naked bodies through the streets, filming and celebrating the brutalization of their bodies. Video footage was also released showing Hamas terrorists violently beating and abducting those into Gaza they hadn’t yet killed.
Mohammed Deif, commander in chief of Hamas’ military arm, has since recorded a video statement claiming responsibility for the attack. On Dec. 1, Hamas leader, Yahya Sinwar, swore to the world that the massacre was “just a rehearsal”.
Since the beginning of the conflict, approximately 10,000 rockets and mortars, and dozens of drones, have been fired at Israel, mostly from the Gaza Strip. Hamas continues to launch rockets into Israel daily, breaking the most recent ceasefire agreement just hours after it started, and again on the fourth day.
We all want peace, but peace cannot be maintained with a group whose entire reason for existence is to destroy the Jews.
Since the massacre, Jew hatred (antisemitism) around the world has seen a 388 per cent increase in incidents compared to the same period last year, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The attack on Israel has emboldened the world to put its Jew hatred on display, with Jewish people around the globe being targeted, physically attacked and even murdered as some Palestinian sympathizers heed Hamas’s call to eliminate Jews and Zionists worldwide.
Here in Canada, Jewish K-12 schools and synagogues have been shot up and firebombed. Physical clashes have erupted at multiple universities, most recently at Concordia University, many of which have been reported to Calgary Police Services.
In Calgary, over the weeks following Oct. 7, the Calgary Police have had units outside of the synagogues and major Jewish affiliated buildings due to the increased threat level against the community. On Oct. 17, Calgary’s Jewish Community Centre and its outdoor Holocaust memorial were the target of a hate-motivated incident. There have been swastikas drawn as graffiti in public places on campus and on signs held by Anti-Israel protestors along with pictures of Adolf Hitler proudly displayed.
It is important to make clear that Jewish people and Israelis alike unequivocally believe in the sanctity of life – no matter where anyone is born.
Amidst so much anti-Israeli propaganda released by Hamas themselves, people feel uncertain and overwhelmed by what they have seen, especially on social media.
We understand Hamas is not a representation of the Palestinian people and equating them is insulting to the civilians. Hamas is an internationally recognized terrorist organization, and no one willingly sides with terrorists. Yet this conflict has seen people aligning themselves with terrorist propagated views causing an increase in antisemitism that mirrors the world before the start of the Holocaust.
We as Jewish members of the MRU community—your peers, your colleagues, your teachers, your friends— are scared of where misinformation and propaganda leads. We want to feel safe, we want to be students at MRU without fear, who can wear their Star of Davids with pride, and we ultimately want lasting peace. We do not want another ceasefire to be broken.