Senator Gold’s statement on massacres in Israel
Senator Marc Gold delivered the following statement in the Senate chamber on October 17, 2023.
“It is with a heavy heart that I rise today, not as the Government Representative in the Senate, but as a human being and as a Jew.
Let me begin by thanking those of you who have reached out to me over the past week. Your support and understanding means a great deal. More than you may know.
Jews have been called the people of the Book. Because words matter. Words can comfort and words can heal. But sometimes words simply fail. This is such a time, at least for me.
What words can capture the horror that we witnessed a week ago on Saturday – on Shabbat?
What words can heal the memory – seared into the souls of Jews around the world – of seeing children ripped from their parents’ arms and slaughtered before their eyes? Of witnessing the systematic butchering and massacring of innocent people in the deadliest attack against Jews since the Holocaust?
Words fail me. Along with millions of Jews around the world, I have family and friends in Israel. Some came to Israel from the concentration camps. Others came to live in the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people. Some are serving on the front lines. Others are living in the very communities that were invaded by Hamas. And yes, some are being held hostage in Gaza as I stand here today.
Dear colleagues and friends. This is personal for me.
In the face of such brutality – such inhumanity – such horror – I wish I had words of comfort for all who are grieving and who are suffering in fear. But words keep failing me.
And so, I turn to my tradition for guidance.
In Pirkei Avot, a rabbinic text written 18 centuries ago, it is stated that we should not comfort someone while their dead still lies before them.
And so, the best that I can do is to feel – the pain and loss, the fears and dread – that have been visited upon my people. To honour the memory of the dead. To mourn with their family, friends and communities. To hope for the speedy recovery of the injured. To work for the release of all those held hostage. To hope that the innocent victims trapped in Gaza, what ever their religion or nationality are provided the humanitarian assistance that they desperately need. And to pray that they all – family, friends, and neighbours – all the innocent people caught up in this brutal war – be spared any further sorrow.”