Israeli Woman’s Response to Children Dying In the War Ignites Debate

Screenshot YouTube : The Telegraph

A reporter from The New Yorker interviewed one of the leaders of the Israeli settler movement – a woman, and a mother – and her answers about how the war against Hamas is being conducted has raised a lot of eyebrows. 

The exchange between her and the journalist over the death toll of Palestinian children is a good exercise for all of us. Like with most questions surrounding war, death, and children, the reactions her views elicited were varied.

Still, unlike war and death, the analysis lacked nuance. Let’s look at what was discussed: a reminder of who suffers the most from war and what all this might mean for humanity.

Law of Nature

Isaac Chotiner of The New Yorker wrote a piece on an interview he conducted with Daniella Weiss, one of the leaders of Israel’s settlement movement. The piece titled The Extreme Ambitions of West Bank Settlers touches on the political and religious convictions of so-called settlers.

In her answers we find questions about our humanity, and the debate is quite lively. 

Mr. Chotiner asked her:

“When you see Palestinian children dying, what’s your emotional reaction as a human being?”

Ms. Weiss responds:

“I go by a very basic human law of nature. My children are prior to the children of the enemy, period. They are first. My children are first.”

To which Mr. Chotiner retorts:

“We are talking about children. I don’t know if the law of nature is what we need to be looking at here.”

Ms. Weiss replies unwaveringly:

“Yeah. I say my children are first.”

A philosophical question

I’m a mother of two children who I adore. I love them on a level so deep I wouldn’t be able to articulate it properly; it just…is.

I would do anything to protect my children, to keep them safe, and to keep them alive. I also believe that if they were to be taken from me or had their lives cruelly snuffed from this world, I would scorch the Earth in what I would know would be a failed attempt to avenge the death of the two things that I think are the most amazing and beautiful of God’s creations.

However, I am blessed. I do not live in a part of the world where my family must live in constant fear of brutality, cruelty, and murder just for existing.

Ms. Weiss does live in that reality. The reaction from the interviewer, who is not a mother, is interesting.

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In the sense that Ms. Weiss is referring to the law of nature, in which the only rule is might makes right. And try as we might to imagine it was different and wish it away, human beings (and many other animals, particularly mammals) are instinctually on the side of their kin. It is in her nature as a mother to care more for her children’s lives than for others, particularly those of her enemy.

Her answer is probably the most natural answer you could receive from a mother.

So why is the question so interesting?

Payments of war

It never ceases to amaze me how those who have never seen war up close and personal are quick to rush to it as an answer or, worse, shut down any criticism of the fallout of war. I try to avoid conversations with family on this subject.

My husband and I are the only ones in our family who have seen war. When the Hamas terrorist attacks on October 7th happened, my mother was rightfully appalled by the horror and savagery.

Who had ever heard of raping dead women and children? Can you imagine burning people alive, disfiguring them, and torturing them before killing them, she would ask.

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I had heard of these things, and I didn’t need to imagine any of them because I had seen such barbarity with my own eyes throughout the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Eastern Europe. The smell of burning flesh, large quantities of spilled blood, and brain matter stay with you when you are subjected to it. That’s as it should be, I believe.

The United Nations reports that more than 40% of those dead in Gaza are children, with 3,900 dead and 1,250 missing. The media do not broadly share images of these deaths for obvious reasons.

Some argue those images should be published and people forced to see them. I understand this, but doubt it would do much, a photograph stays with you for a time…but eventually due to the world we live in those images fade, and we forget these poor young souls.

What kind of future

As with most international issues, there is an alarming lack of knowledge on the issues within the region. I’ve heard the argument that the Gazans want all Israelis wiped from the Earth and that the Gazans support Hamas.

Just before the terror attacks on October 7th, Foreign Affairs sponsored a survey in Gaza. Of those interviewed, 44% of Gazans said they had no trust at all in Hamas.

Almost 50% of Gazans said the Hamas-led government is not very responsive to what Gazans want, and 53% feel that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is a burden on the Palestinian people. These results indicate that before the war, Gazans were moving away from Hamas and the PA, a movement in a positive direction.

What will this war do to that movement? Time will tell.

We can probably surmise the general direction that the disgusting Hamas terrorist attacks on October 7 has taken the Israeli population. And who can really argue with them? 1,400 people were murdered, inside their own country.

President Joe Biden warned Israel:

“After 9/11, we were enraged in the United States. While we sought justice and got justice, we also made mistakes.”

Those mistakes included getting embroiled in two decades of failed wars, resorting to methods of torture resulting in the release of some of the original perpetrators of 9/11, and the weakening of our moral high ground on the world stage. War is messy, and war is necessary because war is a human act.

What would I do for my children? Would I go to war even if it meant the deaths of other children?

Is Mrs. Weiss a monster, or just a normal person?

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USAF Retired, Bronze Star recipient, outspoken veteran advocate. Hot mess mom to two monsters and wife to equal parts... More about Kathleen J. Anderson

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