Written by 05:56 World

Many Israelis Blame Hamas for Gaza Suffering, and Feel Little Sympathy

The southern Israeli city of Netivot, a working-class hub for mystical rabbis about 10 miles from the Gaza border, escaped the worst of the Hamas-led attack of Oct. 7, a fluke many residents ascribe to miraculous intervention by the Jewish sages buried here.

Nevertheless, many here seem to show little concern about the suffering now of the Palestinian civilians — practically neighbors — across the fence in Gaza.

Michael Zigdon, who operates a small food shack in Netivot’s rundown market and had employed two men from Gaza until the attack, expressed little sympathy for Gazans, who have endured a ferocious Israeli military onslaught for the past eight months.

“Who wants this war and who doesn’t?” Mr. Zigdon said, while mopping up red food dye that had spilled from a crushed-ice drink machine in his shack. “It wasn’t us who attacked them on Oct. 7.”

Like many Israelis, Mr. Zigdon blamed Hamas for embedding itself in residential areas, endangering Gaza’s civilians, while blurring the distinction himself between Hamas fighters and the general population, as if all were complicit.

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Last modified: 25 June 2024
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