POMPEO: What I Saw in Israel Proves Why We Must Support Our Ally’s Righteous Mission To Destroy Hamas

This week, my wife, Susan, and I visited Israel for the first time since the barbaric Hamas attacks on October 7.  I’ve been to Israel many times.  But this visit was the most poignant and the most heartbreaking.  What Hamas terrorists did to innocent Israelis on October 7 was so shocking, so sadistic, that it is difficult to capture in mere words.  In communities across the southern parts of the country, I saw homes destroyed and met families who had been devastated.  I met mothers, fathers, grandparents, and siblings whose loved ones were being held hostage by wicked terrorists in truly awful conditions.  Seeing these devastated communities firsthand only made it clearer than ever that our country must continue to support Israel in its fight to destroy Hamas, so that the tragedy of October 7 never happens again.

My trip also made it even more frustrating to hear the Biden Administration’s criticisms of Israel’s response.  Last week, President Biden characterized Israel’s efforts to destroy Hamas as “over the top.”  Also last week, Jon Finer, a deputy national security advisor in the Administration, said that the Biden Administration’s lukewarm statements of support for Israel were “missteps” that he regretted had left a “very damaging impression based on what has been a wholly inadequate public accounting for how much the president, the administration and the country values the lives of Palestinians.”  How completely disappointing.

This Administration should worry less about the impression it makes with its radical, progressive base and instead consider what is right and wrong.  In one kibbutz Susan and I visited, K’far Aza, 70 terrorists had infiltrated the small community and murdered at least 60 residents.  These were not IDF forces or even police units Hamas was attacking; these were innocent families, many with young children and elderly.  In Ra’im, Susan and I saw memorials to the hundreds of innocent people slaughtered by Hamas while at a music festival and met a survivor of that massacre.  In Okafim, we saw a community that managed to fight off waves of Hamas militants with only a small police force and some civilians helping – but not before over 50 innocent Israelis were brutally murdered.  To walk through these streets lined with burned out cars and the blackened ruins of what once were the vibrant, colorful homes of thriving families and to walk past makeshift memorials to loved ones who were killed by Hamas simply for being Jewish – to see what these terrorists did on October 7 was to see true evil.  Israel now has a righteous mission to eliminate the perpetrators of that evil so that it never happens again, and the Biden Administration should stand beside them – not criticize the Jewish state in an effort to placate its liberal Left base.

Despite the tragedy Susan and I saw across Israel’s south and the trauma felt by so many around the country, we also encountered something else that was truly remarkable: the resilience of the Jewish people. Every Israeli continues to sacrifice and give so much to help their countrymen and women and to defend their nation.  In Okafim, Susan and I met with a remarkable Rabbi who has built the initiative "Standing Together" that has provided financial support for the families of victims, hospital visits to wounded soldiers and citizens, packages of essentials and toys to displaced families, Tefillin and other religious articles to soldiers and families, and charitable provisions for soldiers.  We spent time with many of the soldiers this initiative has helped: men and women who have put their lives on hold to help defend their country and ensure the unimaginable horrors of October 7 never happen again.

The people we met inspired us.  America must continue to support and stand by the people of Israel, not simply because Israel’s continued existence supports America’s security and interests, but because it is the right thing to do. Of primary importance is our continued support and assistance in Israel’s efforts to bring the hostages, of which eight are Americans, held in Gaza back home.  Right around the time Susan and I arrived, Israeli forces undertook a successful rescue mission and saved two of those hostages; we should be doing everything we can to help Israel continue this success.  Indeed, we should do everything we can to continue to stand with Israel, stand with the Jewish people, and support the resolute victory of Israel in this war against evil.