This piece is one of an ongo­ing series that we will be shar­ing in the com­ing days from Israeli authors and authors in Israel.

It is crit­i­cal to under­stand his­to­ry not just through the books that will be writ­ten lat­er, but also through the first-hand tes­ti­monies and real-time account­ing of events as they occur. At Jew­ish Book Coun­cil, we under­stand the val­ue of these writ­ten tes­ti­mo­ni­als and of shar­ing these indi­vid­ual expe­ri­ences. It’s more impor­tant now than ever to give space to these voic­es and narratives. 

In col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil, JBI is record­ing writ­ers’ first-hand accounts, as shared with and pub­lished by JBC, to increase the acces­si­bil­i­ty of these accounts for indi­vid­u­als who are blind, have low vision or are print disabled. 

Nobody knocked on our roof, no one warned us that this is what might hap­pen to us on that Sat­ur­day, Octo­ber 7, 2023, the eve of Sim­chat Torah, one of the most impor­tant Jew­ish holidays.

Many poets from around the world have turned to me to ask how I am over these last ter­ri­ble days. I have not stopped explain­ing to them what is hap­pen­ing in Israel and in the Mid­dle East. 

I stand before you not only as an Israeli poet, but as a descen­dant of some­one who was exe­cut­ed for teach­ing Hebrew. I have no coun­try oth­er than Israel.

Hamas ter­ror­ists entered my coun­try and raped young female sol­diers. They cut off the heads of chil­dren and babies. They cut open a preg­nant wom­an’s stom­ach and took out her fetus. They tied chil­dren togeth­er and slaugh­tered them. They mur­dered entire fam­i­lies, includ­ing Holo­caust survivors. 

Over the years, Hamas has tried to con­vey that they are free­dom fight­ers whose goal is to col­lect dona­tions for the res­i­dents of Gaza. 

This is a dread­ful lie. They use the tac­tics of ISIS. Their goal is the appli­ca­tion of Sharia law. Their true face has now been revealed. 

And this is not just an attack on Kfar Aza, Nir Oz or Kib­butz Be’eri in South­ern Israel. It is not only an attack on Israeli civil­ians — it is an attack on human civ­i­liza­tion. This is an inter­na­tion­al war where progress and moral­i­ty are at stake. Hamas is the ene­my of progress, of cul­ture, and of moral­i­ty. This is a war between the sons of light and the sons of dark­ness. The vic­to­ry of Israel is a vic­to­ry for civilization.

Israel is com­mit­ted to a bet­ter world for our­selves and future gen­er­a­tions. Hamas, nor any­one else, will not stop us liv­ing a good life in the Mid­dle East, in pros­per­i­ty, with cul­ture and peace, for our own sake and for future gen­er­a­tions. What char­ac­ter­izes us first and fore­most is our human­i­ty. Vic­to­ry is peace.

The views and opin­ions expressed above are those of the author, based on their obser­va­tions and experiences.

Sup­port the work of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and become a mem­ber today.

Lali Michaeli is the non­con­formist of Israeli poet­ry, dar­ing to shout what oth­ers were ashamed to think, became a sym­bol of rebel­lion and anti-estab­lish­ment. Even now, when she learns for­eign lan­guages, is invit­ed to par­tic­i­pate in inter­na­tion­al poet­ry fes­ti­vals all over the world and wins inter­na­tion­al awards, she refus­es to screw with the Israeli main­stream. She main­tains her sta­tus as a solo poet. The Israeli polit­i­cal poems Mr. Prime Min­is­ter” (2009) and Democ­ra­cy” (2016) along­side uni­ver­sal poems like Paint me ablaze” and Every time we make love” show the lay­ers of her poet­ry. The intra-poet­ic, per­son­al, inter­per­son­al and human dia­logue is the how and what of her writ­ing. This is an attempt to build bridges in impos­si­ble places. The poet­ry of Lali Michaeli once again proves that excel­lent poet­ry can also be sexy and inno­v­a­tive.” — Dory Manor