We were standing in a neighborhood, looking at the wreckage caused by the latest round of terrorist rockets. We were outside the home of a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor – at least, what was left of it. She wasn’t there, because she was in the hospital. She lost her legs and nearly her life. Her caretaker died when the house was destroyed.
While we stood there, the next-door neighbor came rushing out to meet us. Screaming and crying, she invited us into her home. It was badly damaged, también. Cuando el rocket pegar, she was holding her grandchild. The blast threw them into the wall. We could see the outline of her body, and even her hair, which had stuck there. Still crying, she and her husband hugged us close, and thanked us for being there.
There was nowhere else we wanted to be.
We went to Israel in the wake of war. Less than three weeks earlier, Israel’s citizens endured 11 straight days of rocket attacks. The Hamas terrorists bear full responsibility. They launched more than 4,300 rockets at Israeli schools, homes and synagogues. Their goal was to kill as many innocents as possible – innocents like the family we met.
But as we saw, Israel endures.
Israel came through the crisis thanks to the Iron Dome, which we saw up close, and the iron will of its people.
Israel was completely in the right to take the fight to Hamas. With the terrorist leaders operating from hospitals, apartment buildings and even a foreign media hub, Israel targeted them with the utmost precision and protection for innocent Palestinians.
As one of us said to the U.N. Security Council in 2018, “no country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.” What was true then is still true.
Israel’s restraint is all the more remarkable given the threat it faces. Every Israeli citizen knows that Hamas would kill each and every one of them if given the chance. Israel’s response is to target Hamas, and Hamas alone, while trying to spare the lives of Palestinians who Hamas uses as human shields. Palestinians deserve better than to be ruled by terrorists.
Such values ensure that Israel endures. So does the country’s commitment to democracy, which deserves American support regardless of the party in power.
We met with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and thanked him for his immense contributions to Israel’s security and prosperity. He will continue to serve his country as leader of the Knesset’s opposition.