‘We Will Not Go Back to October 6’

Israel’s consul general at New York tells the Sun that in the face of an unrelenting Hamas, the country will defend itself ‘without restraint.’

Twitter/Aviv Ezra
Israel's deputy consul general at New York, Aviv Ezra, left, and the deputy chairman of the Democratic Majority for Israel, Todd Richman. Twitter/Aviv Ezra

No moment in the history of the Jewish state has been as existential as the current one. That’s the exhortation of Israel’s acting consul general in New York, Aviv Ezra, in a conversation with the Sun’s publisher, Dovid Efune, and the paper’s Founder members Thursday at New York. “Israel of October 6,” says Mr. Ezra, “is different from Israel of October 7.” 

Charged with overseeing the diplomatic activities of the Consulate of Israel at New York, Mr. Ezra fills a vacancy left by Asaf Zamir in March. He previously served at the Israeli embassy in Washington as liaison to the Congress and helped establish support for Israel’s missile defense program.

Israel, before Hamas’s attacks, was “addicted to tranquility, trying to achieve, to find, to seek that equilibrium where we could create that ultimate win-win situation,” Mr. Ezra says. The country ended its presence in Gaza as part of the disengagement strategy of  Prime Minister Sharon in 2005, under the belief, he says, that “we were going to see the next Singapore of the Middle East.”

Two years later, Hamas took over the Gaza strip. “While we were focusing on progress,” Mr. Ezra says, “the other side over there was preparing for something else.” On October 7, “the masks were torn off” Israel’s neighbors. The disengagement strategy, Mr. Ezra says, contributed to the inability to interpret Hamas’s military and intelligence footprint preceding October 7. That was the duty of the special military unit called the Devil’s Advocate, which was created after the surprise attack against Israel by a coalition of Arab states in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. 

“Their job was to actually think the worst case, the opposite of common wisdom,” in order to prevent future failures of imagination, says Mr. Ezra, a former military intelligence officer in the Israeli Defense Forces. “At the end of this war, we will have to ask ourselves very tough questions.” 

Israel’s endgame is, firstly, to bring back all hostages captured on October 7. “Had it not been for the military pressure that we applied in the first weeks of the war,” says Mr. Ezra, gesturing toward his dog tag, prevalent in Israel as a symbol of solidarity with the victims, “there was no chance in hell that these hostages that we’ve been seeing in the last seven days or so would’ve come back home.”

The strategic goal is to find an equilibrium that eliminates the threat of Hamas. “We will not go back to October 6,” Mr. Ezra says. Additional dangers are posed to Israel’s northern front by the Iran backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, which Mr. Ezra predicts could be four times more dangerous than Hamas. 

The information war, or what Mr. Efune likens to a “competition of victimhood,” has emerged as another front in this conflict. “There are junctions in history like this one, that ambiguity is not an option,” Mr. Ezra says. “Either what happened is something that you have to denounce and condemn wholeheartedly and go against it, or you support it. Silence is not an option. Silence is complicity.”

Mr. Ezra lauded the support from the White House and Congress for Israel’s self-defense. “If we have to defend ourselves by ourselves — which is what we do all the time — even if we don’t have international support, we will do it,” Mr. Ezra asserts. He adds that “the only difference between those horrific days of the Holocaust and today is that today, we are not dependent on anyone.”


Correction: Thursday was the day on which Mr. Ezra spoke to the Sun. The day was given incorrectly in the bulldog.

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