In a somber gathering at the Israeli Embassy on Monday, dozens of pastors came together for a private screening that showcased raw footage and audio detailing Hamas’ shocking attacks on civilians during the October 7 violence.
Organized by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews in partnership with the embassy, the 45-minute video compiled by the Israeli government aimed to shed light on the brutality of the attacks.
The footage, drawn from various sources such as Hamas body cameras, security cameras, social media, cell phones, and first responders, was presented to raise awareness about the grim reality of the situation. Attendees were not allowed to record the event due to concerns about the graphic nature of the material and the potential impact on victims’ families who may not have seen the footage yet.
Eliav Benjamin, the embassy’s deputy head of mission, emphasized in his opening remarks that Israel, amid mounting calls for a Gaza ceasefire, must defend its people without apologizing for its actions. He portrayed the conflict as a “just war” fought not just for Israel but on behalf of the free world, emphasizing the struggle against those who reject the values of civilization.
The video depicted disturbing scenes of Hamas members breaching Gaza borders, infiltrating Israel, and indiscriminately attacking civilians. The terrorists were shown shooting at cars, killing passengers, and even dragging their lifeless bodies from vehicles. Chants of “Allah is great” echoed in the background, underscoring the gravity of the attacks.
Further footage revealed terrorists attacking civilians in their homes, targeting attendees at the Supernova Music Festival, and engaging in acts of extreme brutality, including attempts at decapitation. Audio recordings accompanied the visuals, with one terrorist purportedly bragging about murdering ten people using a dead Jewish woman’s phone.
Bishop Paul Lanier, chairman of the board of directors of The Fellowship, expressed hope that the screening would inspire change in those who witnessed the distressing footage. In an interview, he clarified that Christians, usually peace-loving, felt compelled to shed light on the brutality and stand against it.
As some Christian leaders called for a ceasefire, Lanier questioned the feasibility of such a move while the threat from Hamas persisted. Jonathan Avendano, managing director of the National Hispanic Pastors Alliance, argued for decisive action against evil, suggesting that only erasing it could bring true peace.
The report also highlighted discrepancies in the death toll figures provided by Hamas-run health authorities in Gaza. While UN concerns were noted regarding the impact on women and children, Israeli officials like Benjamin denounced these figures as fake, citing Hamas’ historical use of misinformation. Benjamin emphasized Israel’s efforts to minimize civilian casualties, providing designated evacuation areas and humanitarian aid.
Despite facing challenges in justifying actions following the horrific attack, Benjamin asserted Israel’s commitment to adhering to International Human Rights Law. He expressed the hope that the world would understand and support Israel’s obligation to defend itself and prevent such atrocities from happening again.