November 15, 2012
Jewish groups react swiftly to escalation of Gaza rocket attacks on Israel
Jewish organizations had an outpouring of reaction on Wednesday to the escalation of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel that had started Saturday—conveying their prayers for the safety of southern Israelis, condemning the Hamas terrorism, and affirming the Jewish state’s right to respond.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched a broad Gaza operation targeting Hamas terrorists, called “Pillar of Defense,” which killed Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari. After Jabari’s death, Hamas intensified its rocket fire.
In Kiryat Malakhi, where three Israelis were killed by a rocket that hit their home, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) said its Better Together program “is taking care of 30 displaced families whose building was bombed and deemed uninhabitable by providing basic needs and finding them temporary shelter.” JDC is also delivering food to the homes of the elderly.
“JDC’s Emergency Response Team is already helping the elderly, people with disabilities, and youth at risk, providing basic needs and emotional support during this distressing time,” JDC President Penny Blumenstein and Interim CEO Darrell Friedman said in a joint statement.
Roz Rothstein, CEO of the pro-Israel education group StandWithUs, expressed “hope for the day when Palestinian leaders lay aside their hatred and arms, and reach out for peace with Israel.” She also said Hamas’s onslaught “endangers the citizens of Gaza who are being used as human shields.”
The Conference of President of Major American Jewish Organizations noted that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “remains silent” despite daily Palestinian terrorist attacks.
“He has yet to condemn or criticize these blatant violations across an international border that put one million innocent Israelis in jeopardy,” Conference of Presidents Chairman Richard Stone and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein said in a joint statement.
Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, said “These latest unprovoked attacks follow years of unrelenting terror that has forced so many Israelis to live in a constant state of fear— conditions which no country would tolerate.”
“We proudly stand shoulder to shoulder with the people and state of Israel during this difficult time and pray that such attacks will soon end,” Silverman said.
American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris on Thursday criticized the United Nations Security Council for not being able to agree on a statement of concern regarding Israel’s situation during a Wednesday night emergency session in New York.
“The inability of too many world leaders to distinguish between the arsonist, Hamas, and the firefighter, Israel, is gross negligence,” Harris said. “No UN member state can honestly say it would respond differently to a neighbor dedicated to its annihilation and launching rockets to provoke a larger confrontation.”
The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) said it “stands with Israel as it exercises its sovereign right to respond to the rocket attacks launched by Hamas terrorists from Gaza.” NJDC added that it is “relieved to see that the Iron Dome missile defense system has intercepted many incoming rockets, helping to save Israeli lives and property as well.”