A stunned, silent Israel in mourning

by Etgar Lefkovits

(JNS) An eerie silence pervaded Israeli cities on Sunday morning, with the country at war following the most lethal Arab assault on the Jewish state in half a century.

With schools and places of entertainment shuttered, Israeli cities, including its economic hub of Tel Aviv, looked like ghost towns as the first batches of the names of the dead were released, including many young soldiers in their 20s. Anxious families stayed home, glued to news reports and calling to check on loved ones as the Israeli military worked to scour the southern border communities for the remaining Hamas terrorists resulting in street battles, and rocket attacks persisted in towns near Gaza.

The agony of the families who lost loved ones in the attacks, which killed at least 600 Israelis and wounded 2,000 others, was compounded by that of scores of others whose relatives or friends were kidnapped by the Hamas terrorists and brought to Gaza.

The lucky ones were at the hospitals, where medical staff were tending to the hundreds of wounded.

Even the skies above Israel were unusually quiet on Sunday morning, with many flights to and from the country canceled even as the country’s airport remained open as tourists struggled to get home after the week-long Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

The usually joyous fall holiday season, during which Israel teems with tourists and which climaxes with the holiday of Simchat Torah, had come to a sudden and abrupt end, with the country in mourning and girding for weeks of war.

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