The Last Word: “Not since the Holocaust”
Nov 2, 2023 | Isaac Herzog
The following is the full text of a statement made by Israeli President Itzhak Herzog to the Israeli people on Oct. 9.
As President of the State of Israel, I speak to you now from our capital city Jerusalem under the dark shadow of war, as my nation continues to endure a savage attack from a cruel and inhumane enemy. To my mind, not since the Holocaust have so many Jews been killed in one day. And not since the Holocaust have we witnessed scenes of Jewish women and children, grandparents – even Holocaust survivors – being herded into trucks and taken into captivity.
Hamas has imported, adopted and replicated the savagery of ISIS. Entering civilian homes on a holy day and murdering in cold blood whole families. Young and old. Violating and burning bodies. Beating and torturing their innocent victims – Jews and Muslims and other faiths.
The brutality. The inhumanity. The barbarity of monsters – not humans – monsters.
Over the past days, I have spoken with leaders from around the world who expressed their deep outrage at the attack, including [US] Vice President [Kamala] Harris, [US] Secretary of State [Antony] Blinken, the heads of the EU, the UN, NATO and others closer to home, like my friend, President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.
I call on all nations around the world:
First, most importantly, make clear and loud condemnations of Hamas’ actions. Just as you condemned the abhorrent and unspeakable actions of ISIS because today, they are one and the same.
Second, those nations that have yet to do so: Designate Hamas in its entirety as a terrorist body.
Third, make clear that Hamas carries full responsibility and accountability for the well-being of the hostages it has taken and demand their immediate return to Israel.
And fourth, support Israel – in words and in deeds.
Israel for its part will continue to defend itself. The Government of Israel, Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu, the IDF and all the Israeli security agencies have my full support. We will act with full force and unwavering commitment to eliminate this threat to our people. We will pursue all those who perpetrate and support such grievous acts against us.
I know the Israeli spirit will overcome. Unfortunately and sadly, there are hundreds of bereaved families all around the country and thousands of injured being treated in hospitals around the country. Today and yesterday, I met some of the wounded in Asaf HaRofeh Shamir Hospital and Beersheva’s Soroka Medical Centre, some of the best medical centres in the world.
If you ever want to witness the great spirit of my nation, the great spirit of the nation of Israel, you can see it in hospitals and elsewhere around the country. You will find a people united and committed to prevail, together, and come out victorious.
Let there be no mistake by any in the region who may consider operating against Israel. Israel is a very strong country and will employ all its might and strength to defend itself and its people.
I pray for the swift and full recovery of the injured, I pray for the bereaved families, and I pray for the wellbeing of those taken hostage. And through all this, with the solidarity and support of our brothers and sisters in Jewish communities all around the world, with our friends and allies all around the world, I know that Israel will emerge stronger, more resilient and united.