On October 7th, the Hamas armed forces launched an attack on Israel. They killed more than 1400 people and kidnapped hundreds of civilians, including elderly people and children. Israel has been fighting with Hamas ever since, and the end is still in sight. This November, a month after the attack, I met Sean Krichmar, an Israeli Jewish living in Prague since 2016. As for now, he is studying history of arts and among other things, is the CEO of Formalist Gallery, a Prague-based gallery of Nordic design and Bauhaus.
For starters, I would like to know, what is your personal view of the Israel-Hamas conflict?
It needs to be clear that this is not just an Israel-Hamas conflict, this issue is much deeper than it looks and it has existed throughout all of Israel’s 75-year history. This has always been a constant conflict with our neighboring countries and in all of this mess Hamas alone plays a big role. October 7th showed the entire world what Hamas really is and the only thing it has in mind.
We have an idea in what way civilians and people present in combat have been impacted. But what impact does the situation have on you, an Israeli living abroad?
We have all been directly impacted by this brutal attack. As an Israeli Jewish living abroad, I am tearful seeing what my country is going through and I am scared for my friends and relatives in Israel, whose life has changed upside down since the attack.
October 7th has all of us in disbelief, even from the point of security, this day never
should have happened. Terrorists launched this brutal attack against my country and
committed these unspeakable barbaric crimes and the world wants us to stay quiet? To stay put? It’s never going to happen – our unity is strong, we all have hope, we all know we are confronting this issue precisely as necessary, and we will win.
We all are incredibly heartened seeing such incredible support from allies, seeing so
many people around the world showing their solidarity with Israel and being a voice to Jews around the world! I personally am incredibly grateful to the Czech Republic and its strong support for Israel!
Israeli soldiers. Photo: Wikipedia
How is your family here in Prague doing?
Physically we are here but our hearts are in Israel. We truly love Prague, we feel safe here, the Czech Republic is practically the only country in Europe who so strongly supports Israel and for that we are truly thankful!
Are you aware of the situation in your hometown or in the area?
Luckily my hometown is located much norther from Gaza and so particularly the missile
launches from there do not oppose any threat, however, as you might have seen, lately the missile launches from the north (from Hezbollah) have increased, which does oppose a big threat not only to my hometown but to all northern Israel. I have no words to describe the situation there right now. I am always in contact with friends and relatives in my hometown and it’s scary seeing them constantly running and hiding in shelters. This is not the reality we want to live in, no person should ever hide and live in fear in his own country, his home. I am tearful seeing what my country goes through.
It is important for Israel to stay united, however, is there an aspect of it you might find threatening to its unity?
The higher the danger is, the higher the threat against Israel’s unity is, the more united and stronger the people of Israel are. This is our country, our home, we have no other place and we will go till the end if necessary. Let me make that clear, the war is not going to simply stop or disappear one day (if this is what many hope for), the task Israel now has is to deal with this issue till the end. Hamas is responsible for every crime it has committed since its establishment and especially for what it did on October 7th, and for that it will repay. I wish I could say when all this would end, many people are wishing to know that as well. For now we can be sure it’s going steadily at its own pace.
A pro-Israeli rally in Berlin, October 8th 2023. Photo: Wikipedia
In such a dreadful situation, it’s difficult to keep a piece of mind. Would you have any advice for people impacted by this war on maintaining their mental health?
The people of Israel have always been under attack by terrorists and by the neighboring
countries, yet despite all of the horrible and unspeakable crimes committed against Israel, the mental strength of the Israeli people is higher than ever before. We all watch the news and hear what people are saying, but we certainly won’t let these anti-Israeli protests and comments affect us in any way whatsoever.
We all saw the acts that these barbaric animals committed against us, and for that we won’t stay quiet. I personally, and so do many others around the world, believe that this situation is finally being dealt with the way it should have been a long time ago. It really shouldn’t have gotten to the point it got a month ago, but hopefully now we’ll see the right change take place.
If it wasn’t clear to someone before, then it certainly should be now, Hamas only has one goal in mind and it uses anything at its disposal, even people, to achieve it. October 7th is a tragic day that will be marked in our memories forever together with the heinous acts that Hamas has committed against us, against our country, for which it will be held accountable, as should all those who share the same ideology.
It is clear what pro-Israeli protests are about – on the contrary, what do you see as the main aim of pro-Palestine protests?
The only goal these protests have is to denigrate Israel. A large number of these protests have a herd mentality and many of those who take to the streets have no idea even where Israel is and where Palestine is. Most of these events are organized purely for political reasons. Proof of this is that not a single country in the Arab world has offered to accept Palestinian refugees. And of course, global antisemitism plays a big role here.
In the end, would you like to add anything?
There is nothing I can add that hasn’t already been said but I do want to highlight once again the incredible strength of the Israeli people despite what the entire country is going through. We will never give in no matter what we see or hear, no matter how absurd the narrative gets.
After October 7th, the worst terrorist attack since 9/11, we are now defending our home and it must be clear that everything we do is consistent with that. We certainly can’t stay quiet and be under the impression as if we are responding in the wrong way – we are not the bad people here, the only one responsible for this crime is Hamas. No person in Israel should ever live in fear knowing that a terrorist organization runs Gaza.
It’s clear that protests and comments are a part of this, but yet again, let’s remember they exist purely for political reasons trying to denigrate Israel. The world can talk and twist the reality, as we know it often does, but Israel must stay consistent till the end dealing with this issue.
Certainly, we all want this to end as soon as possible but I believe it is understandable that no one wants to see a day like October 7th ever repeat itself. Let it be clear that Israel has the right to defend itself, and it does, just as any other country would. Israel is ready, and if necessary it will deal with anyone trying to take advantage of this
situation. We are not blind to reality, we see everything that is happening and we act accordingly. We are defending ourselves, we are defending our country, and we will continue to do so till victory. As Golda Meir once said, “We don’t thrive on military acts. We do them because we have to, and thank God we are efficient.”