Rockville Centre

IDF officer in RVC describes his Gaza experience


An IDF officer who served in Gaza told a Rockville Centre synagogue that “personally, if there can be a solution that will include any sort of agreement or ceasefire, I don’t believe in that any longer.”

“We thought we knew the situation, and then Oct. 7 came and we realized the situation is different,” Amit Yaacov said at the Conservative Congregation B’nai Sholom-Beth David. “We saw the videos of how the Gazans celebrated when Hamas brought back hostages, dead bodies, soldiers, citizens, kids. They were celebrating.”

Yaacov displayed a Hamas T-shirt celebrating the Oct. 7 attack. “The department of the massive terror attack” is printed on the shirt in Arabic.

“We have merch for summer camps, they have merch for terror attacks,” he said.

The reason he thinks peace is not attainable is that from the Palestinian perspective peace was never the goal.

“When they talk about an agreement or going back to their homes that we hear a lot, Hamas doesn’t mean to go back to the ’67 borders before the Six Day War,” he said. “They’re not talking about the West Bank or settling in Sinai or even in the Golan Heights. They’re talking about Israel. They’re talking about Tel Aviv. They’re talking about Haifa. They’re talking about all of the state of Israel.”

He said Palestinian supporters adopted the genocidal slogan “From the river to the sea” is that their objective is to cause the State of Israel to cease to exist. “And in that case, no peace can be reached with anyone.”

Meanwhile, no army does as much as the IDF to try and prevent casualties on the other side, he said.

“We got a mission that was delayed two or three times because not all of the population in the area we were supposed to be attacking was evacuated,” he said. In another instance, where an air force drone confirmed that four terrorists were driving in a vehicle, the mission was aborted because it was too close to a populated area.

“Even though we confirmed it,” Yaacov said. “We saw their ammunition and recognized the vehicle they were using. It was aborted because the price was too high.”

He said his sister was once wounded by a piece of a missile that was shot out of the air by the Iron Dome defense system. “People get hurt, even though we’re trying to protect ourselves,” he said. “It’s the same on the other side.”

Yaacov, a native of Jerusalem who currently resides on Long Island where he works as a shaliach with the Sid Jacobson JCC in Greenvale, said he would never forget his experience in Gaza. “It definitely was one heck of an experience,” he said.

A version of this story was published in the Rockville Centre Herald.