As the number of casualties in the Israel-Hamas war rises, Lagos-based Rabbi for Jewish communities, Mendy Sternbach and Israeli film maker, Ronya Man, opened up about the need for international understanding of the situation around the war and just how it affects the people of the world.
The war which was triggered by an attack on Israel by Hamas terrorists from Gaza on Saturday, has claimed the lives of about 1000 people in Israel and 900 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
In an ARISE NEWS interview on Wednesday Ronya Man, who has impacted the Nigerian film industry since 2018, shared an experience where she was recently contacted to organize an event for a client who she says did not understand the magnitude of the war. She explained that she had lost friends and family to the war.
“The atrocities these terrorists committed, to me they don’t represent any kind of people, only terror. That terror has been infiltrating into the world since before 9/11. But this is now the world against terror.
“If we let these terrorists live on, we are endangering the whole of the free world. Every country that promotes democracy for human rights or any kind of freedom is jeopardising its values and people if we don’t fight this terrorism and that’s why you see the countries of the world standing by Israel.
“They too understand it, see it and experience it. Remember the attacks in Paris in 2015. remember 9/11. There are many more. We don’t know why the Gaza people are caught in the middle of this, the reason the world is standing with us is because they know something must be done to stop these terrorists.”
Ronya pointed out that the attacks were no different from the Boko Haram insurgency being faced by Nigerians, thus hoping that the comparison would give better understanding of how dire the situation is.
When asked if the retaliation was justified, Rabbi Sternbach replied, “If you look at history there was always war between nations. Now there’s a war with a terrorist group and the war with terrorism is different from the rule of war between two nations.
‘The Torah says God told Noah to be fruitful and multiply and fill this earth. That’s not a commandment to Jewish people only but the whole people of the world. So the destruction of people is obviously antithesis to the Bible.
“At the same time, there must be a strong deterrence that you cannot come and kill people. When innocent people are butchered, people are throwing fireworks and partying. Is that the kind of people we’re asking about? People who see a Jewish girl being raped and her dead body being thrown around the roads of Gaza people are partying and touching her? Is that what we’re asking about?
“We have a problem here with brainwashing of certain people in that area. And I’m sorry but there needs to be a deterrence that you do not touch Jews. And if you touch Jews, something is going to happen.”
Concerning the constant question of whether the Israelis were right to choose retaliation, Ronya said, “I’m not a politician. Far from it. I didn’t even understand anything about government policies up until I came to Nigeria and learnt more about its history. Yesterday, when I was preparing for his interview that I reluctantly came to give so I can convey this story and this reality to people in Nigeria, because I know you can relate due to your own pains and wars, I had to see the videos I was trying not to see for the past few days and one of them was of the terrorists driving their car back into Gaza, came out dragging the body of a soldier with a hole in his neck, while they jumped, laughed and cheered.
“The next was a three-year-old crying for mommy while the other children stood with sticks in their hands poking him and saying, “look at this Jewish boy, he’s crying for mommy.’ how would you feel? They filmed those videos proudly, I’m not making this up.”
Sternbach said: “This terrorist group has tried and succeeded around the world to kill Jewish people. It’s not only Jewish people. It’s American citizens and other nationalities and if we don’t ce together to stop them, they will come after everyone because they have success.”