Jackie Congedo — In Conversation
Jewish Community Relations Council of Cincinnati Statement on Situation in Israel
The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati is deeply saddened and horrified by the ongoing violent escalation taking place in Israel and Gaza. We are heartbroken at the loss of innocent Israeli and Palestinian lives. We recognize that the violence in Jerusalem is deeply painful to Jews and Muslims. We pray for days when our holiest sites are known only for the peace that dwells in their midst and it is our fervent hope that all parties and stakeholders will take action to prevent further bloodshed.
According to the latest reports, dozens of people have been killed, with many others wounded — including children. Civilians – Jewish, Muslim, and Christian – living in cities from Sderot, to Jerusalem, to Tel Aviv/Jaffa and beyond, are running for cover in shelters as Hamas and Palestinian terror groups rain missiles and projectiles down on them. More than 1300 rockets and mortars have been fired since Monday– launched from population centers in Gaza, putting Gazans at risk as Israel is forced to defend its citizens against deliberate escalation by these terror groups. Once again, this horribly familiar violent cycle is causing death, pain, fear and anguish.
Tensions of the last weeks have been exacerbated by actions and provocations by extremists, including some far-right Jewish extremists, especially in East Jerusalem. But Hamas and Palestinian terror groups have dangerously and intentionally escalated the situation in order to advance their long-standing goal of destroying the State of Israel.
The JCRC supports Israel’s right and responsibility as a sovereign nation, like any other nation, to defend its citizens of all religions and backgrounds against these acts of terror. The events of the past week prove not only the security challenges that Israel faces, but also the need to work towards an outcome that will ensure an end to the violence, an enduring peace for the region, Israel’s security, and Palestinian self-determination.
All parties must avoid actions, inflammatory rhetoric, and provocations that raise tensions. We call on all leaders to de-escalate the crisis and work towards a restoration of calm.
Members of the Greater Cincinnati Jewish community have children, grandchildren, extended family, and friends in harm’s way at this very moment, and we join them in praying for their safety and well-being. We join with those ever-yearning for a more peaceful, secure, and just future for all living in the region.