As we welcome a new Shabbat, our hearts are with Israel and its citizens facing an escalation of rocket attacks aimed at Israeli cities and communities. Now entering a fourth day, Israelis across southern and central Israel have braved an onslaught of over 880 rockets. Thanks to the Iron Dome, over 260 of those rockets have been intercepted.
Despite the optimism that a ceasefire was likely yesterday morning, within a few hours Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) fired barrages of rockets at Israeli population centers. We were horrified to learn that one person was killed and several injured after a direct rocket hit an apartment building in Rehovot. While rescuers search the area, we mourn the loss of life and pray for those who have been harmed.
The indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel are not only a threat to the safety and well-being of innocent civilians, but also a direct assault on the principles of peace, security and coexistence. It is distressing to witness the destruction and fear caused by these acts of violence, disrupting the lives of countless individuals and families.
JewishColumbus is in constant contact with our partners on the ground in Israel: Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), which are carefully assessing the needs related to trauma, emergency shelter and repair of homes and community buildings. The Jewish Agency’s Fund for Victims of Terror is providing immediate financial support to families whose homes were directly hit by rocket fire and is helping them with urgent needs. JewishColumbus stands by ready to respond when called upon by our partners.
Separately, two Jewish Tunisians—one of whom was an Israeli citizen—and four security guards were shot to death this week in what appears to be a terror attack. This occurred at the Djerba Synagogue during a pilgrimage for Lag B’Omer that brought thousands of pilgrims to the holy site. For more on this situation, click here.
JFNA also held a virtual rally this week to call for the release of Evan Gershkovich, the Jewish Wall Street Journal reporter who is being wrongfully detained in Russia. ABC News covered the wide-ranging campaign by JFNA to bring Evan home. JewishColumbus was proud to sign on to a national letter to Secretary of State Tony Blinken.
In the spirit of Shabbat, let us be reminded of the importance of unity, compassion, and faith in times of hardship. May this Shabbat bring comfort, healing, and a renewed sense of determination to work towards a brighter future for all.