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War in Israel Israeli Flag

לסיפורים בעברית

It's not just imperative to win; it's possible to win – there is no alternative!

Maoz Schwartz

Lieutenant Colonel Maoz Schwartz, the esteemed recipient of the prestigious Ashdod medal and the current commander leading his troops in Gaza, recently took to Facebook to share a heartfelt post. In his message, he voiced concerns to the nation's leadership, expressing a genuine fear that the tragic events of 7/10/2023 might start fading from our collective memory.

In a poignant reflection, Maoz Schwartz delves into his emotions while overseeing the operations in Gaza:

"It sends chills down my spine to contemplate that a mere three months ago, numerous innocent infants met a horrifying fate, burned alive, while today, entire brigades undergo an indefinite retraining.

The disconcerting reality hits me when I think that just a few days ago, hordes of terrorists committed unspeakable atrocities – raping women, mutilating Jews, and toying with their organs. Now, there's talk of allowing these terrorists to return to their homes.

It's unnerving to recall that live babies were kidnapped three months ago, with some meeting a fiery end and others callously discarded in the bushes. Today, discussions revolve around thinning the ranks of our valiant fighters.

The sheer horror of hundreds, including women, elderly, and nursing infants, being captured and abducted seems lost amidst trivial debates and nonsensical arguments in the country.

It's unsettling to witness the pleasure of the worst criminals, who revel in the displacement of hundreds of thousands from their homes, while we contemplate engaging in business with such malevolence.

The thought of dozens of our settlements left abandoned and forsaken sends shivers down my spine, especially when discussions shift towards providing hotels for reserve families.

The realization that our enemies are already plotting the next confrontation while we talk about returning to normalcy is deeply unsettling.

Could it be that we are starting to forget? I pose the question without urging a hasty response. A formidable stronghold is at stake."

On December 25, Maoz Schwartz participated in the IDSF security conference in Ashkelon. At the conference Maoz delivered an important message to the people of the State of Israel about the importance of fighting the enemy and deciding the battle for the future of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

Here was his message:

"Maoz, I find myself confined with my wife and baby in one room while terrorists occupy our living room. What course of action should I take?" This was whispered to me by a reservist at the onset of the war.

However, let's delve into the core question: What is the war really about? What triggered it, and could there have been a pivotal moment in the 90th minute that we missed? Possibly. Yet, my focus isn't primarily on that.

I am Lieutenant Colonel Maoz Schwartz, Majd 7007. For over two months, I've led my battalion in Gaza, battling in the alleys and terror bases, places that have become hubs of violence. During this time, I left my students in Ashdod and led my soldiers into Gaza.

In every school in Gaza, from Al Attara neighborhood to Mashroe Amr, Karma, Jablia – everywhere, there are images of our country. Administrative offices showcase pictures of our homeland, and every house is adorned with images of Jerusalem. Even the streets of Jablia bear the names of Israeli cities like Haifa, Yavneh, Ashkelon, and Tel Aviv.

This realization goes beyond military strategy; they live within a narrative they've crafted for themselves.

In each Gaza house, we found weapons – in kindergartens, mosques, even a child's room with a Kalimgor charge amidst toys and a PK machine gun beneath a girl's bed with pink flowers. The schoolyard had launchers next to the basketball court. In Jabaliya, we woke children to find 100 mortar bombs beneath their mattresses.

It's not just a moral issue of the enemy using civilians; it's deeper. This is the story they tell themselves, and they're not alone in it.

And what about our story? What narrative does Israeli society weave for itself? What is the essence of this war? Has the count already been settled? Or are we resigned to the despairing words of journalists and retired generals, claiming "there is no such thing as victory"? Is that our narrative?

In countless lectures nationwide, from speaking to hundreds of ultra-Orthodox to students and educators, I begin with a simple question: What is the truth of this war? Not everyone can articulate it clearly. It must be emphasized – the war is about the Land of Israel and our role here. Who will prevail? Us or them? This clarity is crucial, guiding decisions and rallying our forces, as we understand the stakes.

When we mobilized on Simchat Torah, within four hours, 400 fighters were ready, but 80 were still abroad after four days. I met two fighters who rented a plane and another who paid to sit in a bathroom stall at an airport in South America just to be part of the mission.

People claim victory is impossible, but those voices haven't witnessed the spirit among the fighters, the commanders with extraordinary vision and strength. This is the spirit of the people of Israel!

Friends, the spirit is ammunition! Our commanders lead from the front, a recipe for victory against an enemy whose leaders hide.

It's not just imperative to win; it's possible to win – there is no alternative!

How can I be so certain? Because we've seen the spirit, witnessed the fighters and commanders.

Before entering battle, I tell the battalion: "This is a historic moment, and the size of an hour is here. We have the fighters of King David, the Maccabi, Harut Yisrael Hatzel, the Lahi, and the Palmach, all the fighters of Israel since our nation's inception." The goal is clear, and the purpose is evident.

When ordered to capture the Hamas flag post – Palestine post, our fighters ran through paths with shoe mines. They kicked them aside and reached the hill, raising our flag. After capturing the outpost, we renamed it the Yuval outpost after Yuval Zilber, the 14th fallen soldier.

People may question who will do it if not us. My 15-year-old son asked, "Did you win, Dad?" The younger generation is watching, seeking clear answers. We don't want to pass on the burden of this fight to our children. We want to complete the task ourselves.

A crucial point to note is our enemies' historical tactic – making noise and instilling fear. In encounters with terrorists, we've seen cowardice. True, there are heroes, but in every confrontation, the battalion overcame the enemy, either destroying them or forcing them to flee.

We acknowledge this power, and now, even leaders on the home front must recognize it. The spirit is integral in assessing the situation and making decisions.

In these tough days of fallen warriors, we mourn. However, with bowed heads, we must raise our hearts to the heavens. Standing on Mount Herzl, I realized the rows of graves are not just spaces; they are pavements. The fallen are not just spaces; they are mainly cobblestones, paving the path for us to continue until victory.

By the way, the fighter who called me on Simchat Torah morning made it out alive. He and others like him expect one thing from us – determination and victory!

Maoz Schwartz, the commanding officer of Battalion 7007 and a twelfth-grader at Amit Yagal Ashdod High School, along with his wife Carmit, founded the "Hasdod" volunteer network. Their dedicated efforts earned them the prestigious "Ashdod Beautiful Badge" on behalf of Ashdod Net.

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