In Boston, Jewish Community Stands with Israel
BOSTON -- The Boston Jewish community stood in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Israel Sunday after four Israelis were killed in a barrage of rocket attacks in Gaza -- the first Israeli fatalities from rocket fire since a 2014 war.
“We stand with them as they face the terror of another day of sirens, as they rush to bomb shelters, not knowing whether their homes or loved ones will be safe,” said Marc Baker, president and CEO of Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston.
Palestinian terror organizations, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad initiated attacks from the Gaza Strip, resulting in a massive shelling on Israeli towns and villages. Israel has carried out numerous retaliatory strikes against militants in Gaza.
As Israel pounded Gaza with airstrikes, the Palestinian death toll rose to 23, including two pregnant women and two babies. At least eight of the dead were Islamic Jihad militants.
With Palestinian militants threatening to send rockets deeper into Israel and Israeli reinforcements massing near the Gaza frontier, the fighting showed no signs of slowing down.
“This weekend Jews were killed for nothing more than wanting to live free in their own homeland,” said Jeremy Burton, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston. “A lot of innocent people, both Israelis and Palestinians, are dying because of the actions of these terrorist organizations.”
The terrorists are “choosing to wage war rather than build peace,” he added.
Later this week, Israel marks Memorial Day -- one of the most solemn days of the year -- and its festive Independence Day. Prolonged fighting could overshadow these important occasions and deter foreign tourists.
“Everyone in Israel, we are worried,” said Ambassador Zeev Boker, the consul general of Israel to New England, who is based in Boston. He has a wife and children in Modiin, a city in central Israel between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Despite this weekend’s violence, Boker said he’s “optimistic” for peace.
“I do think there is hope for co-existence, for peace with our neighbors,” he said.
The responsibility falls on everyone -- the U.N., western powers and Gulf states -- to support the Gazan people, Burton said.
“I hope very quickly we can get back to amplifying the voices of those who want peace, and those who want a better future for themselves,” he said.
This report includes material from the Associated Press.