Adjust size of text


Follow us and continue the conversation

Your saved articles

You haven't saved any articles

What are you looking for?

Finding sources of hope

Anat Hoffman
Print this
Finding sources of hope

Published: 17 October 2023

Last updated: 5 March 2024

ANAT HOFFMAN: Despite the shock and grief, there is comfort in courage, caring and the hope that Israel may re-examine its sense of omnipotence. 

My husband Yanay and I hugged each other for 45 minutes after the shock of seeing the news filled with the faces of murdered Israelis. Engulfed in grief, rage and shame, we feel shattered.  This is the moment to actively seek sources of hope. Hugging your loved ones is a good start.

There is hope in embarking on the road to becoming sober. Israel has allowed itself the illusion that we can survive in this neighbourhood relying completely on our military force. The time has come to face reality – a mighty military force is not enough.

We will also need to actively pursue peace with our enemies. We lied to ourselves saying that our hand is outstretched towards our neighbours in peace. We believed that it is their fault we have not reached it, they lack motivation, they are the problem. 

Well, it's time to wake up and realise that we have become so drunk with our own omnipotence, we are the ones who are not ready for what it takes to make peace. Messianic religious elements within us are convinced that God has chosen us above All Nations and we have allowed those elements to dictate Israel's choices.

My grandmother told me on the eve of my wedding that I will have to make a decision during my married life whether I want to be right or whether I want to stay married. This applies also to relationships between nations.

Israel will now have to face the fact that our current rule over millions of Palestinians is unsustainable and that we must make the necessary compromises that enable all people living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea to thrive in liberty and self-determination. We can't fix what we can't face, says James Baldwin. This applies in Israel today.

I believe we will have to face our zealots and extremists. We will have to embark on a Judaism that places people at the centre, not holy relics and holy sites.  If only this crisis can heal us from the malignant strand of Messianic Judaism and lead us towards a renewed commitment to human rights, religious pluralism, racial tolerance, and gender equality, then there is hope. 

Another source of hope are the countless benevolent Israelis who are now seen in full action. Israel's national blood bank is searching for people with blood type O. Type O can donate blood to everybody. The sight of endless lines of potential donors waiting around Israel's blood banks are extraordinary. As there is preference for those with O-type blood, Israelis patiently allow the “O”s  to cut into the line.

Israeli social media is bursting with initiatives of volunteering and generous giving. “Please do not donate any more clothing, we have too much,” I read.

My friends and I are collecting baby food, toothpaste, diapers, towels, first-aid kits, watches, forehead flashlights, thermal underwear, socks and energy snacks.

In contrast to the collapse of government services, it is a wonder to witness the brilliance of Israeli ingenuity and improvisation. This is our finest hour. I garner hope from this.

I am also deeply moved by the barrage of goodwill coming from Diaspora Jews. I have received messages from people I barely remember checking whether we were safe. An avalanche of offers for support and encouragement.

I often think that Israel is way too important to be left to the Israelis. It is now palpable how world Jewry is a real partner in times of need.

Finally, I find enormous hope in the courage shown by Israelis who were fighting for their lives in the south, people like Amir Tibon, who hid with his wife and two tiny daughters for hours, and people like his father, General Noam Tibon, who rescued them and dozens of other people.

In my experience, hope is a thin thread to hold on to. The word for hope, Tikvah, first appears in the Bible in the words, “She tied the beginning of a thin red thread to her window” (Joshua 2:18). The word for a “beginning of a thread” is Tikvah (hope).

I have no doubt that the authors of the Bible knew the word for cable or rope. But they chose a thin thread to symbolically represent what hope means. I am hanging on to the thread of hope because I'm convinced that the Jewish state is the most meaningful historic development of our lifetime.

Here Is my prayer for Israel:

Pray for hope for Israel and her future.

Renew our wonder at the miracle of the Jewish state.

In the name of the pioneers who made the desert bloom – give us the tools to cultivate a diversity of Jewish expressions in Israel.

 In the name of our fallen soldiers and civilians – give us the courage to stand up to the words and ways of zealots.

Those in our midst and those among our neighbours.

In the name of Israeli inventors who have amazed the world with their innovations – help us apply the same ingenuity to finding a path to peace.

In the name of all these women and men – grant us the strength to conquer doubt and despair in Israel.

Replacing doubt with action. Replacing despair with hope.

Across Israel, Jews and Arabs join forces to help war victims and prevent riots (Haaretz)  
In Haifa and Jaffa, joint Jewish and Arab patrols seek to prevent violence on both sides. In the south, Bedouin residents risk their lives to search for victims of Hamas terror. In the shadow of war, Arab-Jewish solidarity initiatives emerge

‘I hope it can endure’: Examples of Jewish-Arab solidarity offer hope in Israel (Guardian)
Volunteers of different ethnicities are working to help victims of the violence and tidy up bomb shelters

Zaka: The volunteers giving dignity to Israel's dead (BBC)
Behind the tall, barbed-wire gates of a military base in central Israel last week, away from the public eye, soldiers, police officers, and forensics experts were working diligently on a task that was almost impossible to imagine from the outside - the mass identification of the victims of Hamas's murderous attack.

In order to cook for tens of thousands, Tel Aviv restaurants kasher their kitchens (Times of Israel)
At least 100 restaurants in Tel Aviv combine forces to cook nourishing food for soldiers, hospitalised patients and families from the south, along with similar effort elsewhere.

About the author

Anat Hoffman

Anat Hoffman is a founding member and Chair of Women of the Wall, and has dedicated her life to the Jewish principle of tikkun olam, which means repairing the world. She served on the Jerusalem City Council and was the Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center for 20 years.

The Jewish Independent acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and strive to honour their rich history of storytelling in our work and mission.

Enter site