In the words of a famous T-shirt, we’ve got a lot going on at the moment.

Just in June so far, we saw “Come From Away” and “Gatsby,” went to the MIAA state championships for track, were blessed with the return of one of my kids from Israel and the graduation of another from high school, got to the end of spring soccer, had a weekend softball tournament in Millis, one annual meeting for work, one special town meeting in Bedford, and one bat mitzvah that featured me walking a Torah down Landsdowne Street before the Savannah Bananas game, have an upcoming trip to Nike Track Nationals in Oregon, and, of course, the Celtics are up 2-0 in the NBA Finals. That’s an incomplete list, sleep is hard to come by, and time marches on.

Wrapped up in my own self, in the midst of competing activities and priorities, somehow it took me a half a day to take out my phone on Saturday. I’d already been up since 5:30, but, well, see that T-shirt comment.

Yet, there I was, on a soccer field watching my daughter, when I opened up Facebook and saw Noa Argamani’s picture. 

There really aren’t words that appropriately summarize how I have experienced seeing Noa’s photo, along with those of Shani Louk and the Bibas family, since Oct. 7. It has been heartstoppingly painful, anxiety-inducing, innocence-crushing (not that I have any left), and absolutely frightening, with an expectation that terrible news was about to drop again, as we saw last month when Shani’s body was found in a Gazan tunnel. There are thousands of innocent victims of this war, but those faces, smiles, and souls have taken on almost mythic proportions in my mind, representative of the hopelessness and loss that we all feel more than eight months into this nightmare.

For a second, I assumed the worst, until I read the headline and let out a gasp. In a case of life imitating “Fauda,” four hostages, Noa, along with Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov, and Shlomi Ziv, were rescued from captivity in Gaza in a daring daytime raid and flown to Israel to be reunited with their families. 

I watched every video. The one from the surveillance drone showing the hostages running to the helicopter; Noa being brought onto the aircraft; Noa hugging her father; the lifeguards announcing the rescue over the loudspeaker on the beach in Tel Aviv; Noa’s poster being taken down from the rear window of a Magen David Adom ambulance; Andrey’s reunion with his mother; Almog’s joyful reunion with his friends; Shlomo’s first video chat with his wife on the way to see her. A nation, and a people, burst forth with a moment of joy and celebration, and the ripple effect of this miraculous rescue hit me in waves on the side of a soccer field in Canton. Tears came to my eyes in recurring waves of absolute gratitude and surprise. They are still coming.

Amidst the joy and happy tears of Saturday, sobering facts remain. 

Certainly there were civilians killed in the rescue mission, but spare me the indignation. You no doubt saw the pearl-clutching: How dare Israel not rescue her hostages immaculately! How dare they not warn the captors that they were coming to rescue them! How dare they! Here’s a word for the unwise: You don’t get to choose how we rescue our hostages, so maybe don’t take them in the first place, or hide them in your residential apartment buildings. Did they think they could hold on to them forever without there being repercussions? Stop it.

At the same time, we also mourn the loss of one of the rescuers, Arnon Zmora, may his memory be a blessing. And we acknowledge that an untold number of hostages remain alive, or dead, in Gaza. They must be brought home, and then this war must end. 

The heroic rescue, and predictable backlash, is yet another reminder that after nearly 250 days, the State of Israel, and the State of Israel alone, is actively trying to rescue the hostages; no one else is coming to save them. Thanks for nothing, Red Cross, and the world.

In October, I wrote that when it comes to Israel, we will fight to the last Jew to keep her. We will also fight to the last Jew to bring home every hostage. 

Why? Because if we don’t, then nobody else will. That much is certain.

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