Oct 23, 2023  By Oren Hefetz  Category: Blueprint Negev,

Finding Strength to Endure This Battle

The past two weeks that have been the most challenging in my life, and I'm certain this is true for many others as well.

I am heartbroken. I am in pain, shedding tears because of the events of October 7th. However, I am also saddened because in hindsight, the stories I was told in my youth were right. During my high school years, we learned about antisemitism. I used to believe it couldn't be real, thinking everyone was exaggerating. How could anyone hate me just because I was born to a Jewish mother? Regrettably, now I am forced to realize that they were indeed correct.

Even after the most heinous, brutal attack on civilians we've witnessed in recent decades, there are still many who stand against Israel and support Hamas – a group of ruthless murderers who have not only taken innocent lives, including children, young people celebrating love and freedom, grandmothers, but have also kidnapped so many.

The world's hypocrisy is glaring. No one wants to address the situation in Gaza. Egypt and Jordan have closed their borders. The world expects Israel to provide water and electricity to Gaza, but why? Why should we support them? We evacuated Gaza in 2005, giving them ample time and resources to develop the area with universities, water facilities, renewable energy technology, hotels, and more. However, they chose to invest everything in building up their capacity for terror. Why does the world turn a blind eye to this? Why do they ignore that they indoctrinate toddlers and elementary school children to hate and harm Jews when they grow up?

It matters not that the Jewish nation has contributed numerous remarkable achievements to the world, including Nobel Prize winners. What have the Palestinians accomplished?

Israel must confront and weaken Hamas; this evil must be eradicated. Unfortunately, while Hamas invested in terror, it strategically surrounded itself with civilians. Israel will make every effort to minimize civilian casualties, but it won't be without its challenges. This is a heartbreaking realization and it will inevitably result in many lives lost. This struggle isn't only for Israel, but for every Jew worldwide and, in my belief, for all humanity.

I witness what's happening in high schools and colleges in the United States and I'm filled with anger. People are taking sides without knowing - without caring about - all the facts, and the boards, principals, and management of these institutions remain silent.

My family and I are safe. I have been drafted, and my family is actively supporting the effort from morning till night. We face very trying weeks ahead. Numerous unanswered questions linger: Will the battle in the north escalate? What will transpire within Israel with the Israeli Arab community? What will the aftermath be? 

I am certain of this: We must rebuild this country, hold our government accountable, and seize the opportunity to unite the Jewish world in support of Israel.

To my friends in the United States and supporters at Jewish National Fund-USA: I want you to understand that our friendship and your support for Israel provide me with the strength to endure this battle. Despite a flawed government and a fractured society, we have embarked on this sacred mission. The thought of leaving with my family and flying to the U.S. is an option, but the understanding that I am fighting not just for my family, but also for you, your children, and your grandchildren, gives me the resolve to stand tall and complete the mission, even while holding my M-16 and flying in a helicopter.

We will emerge victorious, and the world will witness the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people.


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Oren Hefetz is a proud Jewish National Fund-USA professional based in Israel. For the past several years, he has worked closely with the communities in the Central Negev to improve quality of life. Since October 7, he has been actively working to support the war efforts.