- Sunday, April 7, 2024

The October 7 terror attacks wiped out entire families, and left many children orphans, and others permanently injured by both visible and invisible trauma. As this war between Israel and Hamas continues in the wake of that tragic and bloody day, it is important to remember that the costs of war are not only felt by soldiers but by average Israeli citizens.

Moms and dads, small business owners, and many of my own friends are paying a hefty price for this war that Hamas unleashed.

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Every year, billions of people around the world are affected by conflict or violence due to warfare. Few things destroy economies as much as war. Israeli families are certainly no exception. We are feeling it every day.

With many called up for military service, including myself, that means their regular occupations are unfilled. Whole regions of the country are under constant terror threat, and normal economic activity is restricted. As the war continues, supply chains that depend on workers and safety struggle to cope.

I personally know the toll that war takes as well. I was on the frontlines in the immediate aftermath of the October 7 terror attacks near the Gaza border. My own life is in danger, both as an IDF soldier and a civilian.

SEE ALSO: Bold & Blunt: Israelis fight for normalization, post-October 7

I am all too familiar with the effects of war, and the toll it exacts on people’s financial, emotional, and even mental health.

The war has also resulted in a drastic decline in tourism, which is one of Israel’s biggest industries. That means all the families who rely on tourism for their livelihood are now struggling just to make ends meet.

I know these families well. During the pandemic, my team helped find a way to get artisanal goods and gifts from Israel to the doorsteps of Americans, items that would have normally been purchased by tourists. Many of the small family-owned businesses — run by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike — were kept afloat with creative strategies like this.

Now, we face a very similar challenge. Due to both Hamas’s terror attacks, and Israel’s ongoing defensive war, tourism — which is a vital part of Israel’s economy — has witnessed a rapid decline.

I am in regular contact with families who worry about how they’ll pay rent, and how they’ll put food on the table. This is a daily reality in a post-October 7 world.

Israel, and the families that call this place home, face many serious threats. Nevertheless, we will prevail. We are resilient people. We will overcome this hurdle because we must. Defeat is not an option, as we have nowhere else to go. This is our ancestral, eternal homeland.

To help us prevail, I pray Americans and the rest of the world recognize the existential threat we face, as well as the threat to our basic, daily livelihood. Our economy is at risk, with supply chains and entire industries hanging in the balance.

For those that want to be just a small part of our redemption story, or counter the hateful boycotts of Jewish businesses worldwide, consider what steps can be taken to be a part of the solution.

Buy goods made in Israel.

Choose to invest in Israel — like those who’ve done so before — even in times of crisis.

Support my Jewish friends elsewhere in the world who deal with bigotry and boycotts as well.

Justice after October 7 requires not only defending ourselves against the threat of death and destruction, but acknowledging we have a right to establish order, and carry out our daily lives — just as any other peaceful citizen in any other land deserves.

Itai Schimmel immigrated to Israel ten years ago and is a co-founder of Artza, a direct to consumer company delivering a taste of the Holy Land to homes across America. He was recently deployed with the IDF in southern Israel.

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