Saturday, February 29, 2020

As we approach Tisha B’Av and our solemn commemoration of the destruction of our two Holy Temples, we want to remind everyone that the heightened threats to our people in Sderot and other Southern Negev regional areas must be remembered as if it were happening closer to home.

Recently, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the beleaguered development town of Sderot. There he met with regional council leaders and residents. Perhaps the most poignant part of his visit was when he stopped by an elementary school to meet with the children there.

Sderot’s children are victims of all of the Hamas terror in ways that we can never imagine here at home unless we’ve been in Israel and heard the Code Red alerts that are all too often a part of life in towns such as Sderot and Ashkelon.

The stories you might have heard of how parents are hesitant to allow their children to skip rope or play on swings near their homes are true. Many children in Sderot use a special room called a chader Shalom where they can draw pictures of their fears of rocket strikes or play therapeutic games in a safe space or even talk to social workers.  Some of us in the New Jersey Jewish community have visited these places around Sderot. We know that the post-traumatic stress disorder among adults and children is sadly part of the day-to-day life there.

The prime minister warned area leaders of a prolonged struggle. Since our last edition of The Jewish Link, well over 200 rockets and mortars have come from Gaza. In one week.

We would hesitate to advocate for war from the comfort of our suburban homes. But if we can imagine fearing for the safety of our own children coming from a force of hatred, we perhaps would better understand what it must be like to feel for the lives if not the sanity of Sderot’s children.

Israel cannot wait much longer, we fear, to put a stop to this terrorism coming from Gaza. Hamas has shown that it is more than ever under the influence of Iran and not heeding any warnings from Egypt. Soon, the prime minister’s tack might be to follow through on his statement that Hamas “faces an iron wall” and a “determined government” and “of course the IDF.”

We think that the IDF option might be the only solution at this point. Israel’s southern communities need to be safe. And the children of these towns need to be able to play outside with their siblings and friends under the canopy of safety, not the sounds of the Code Red and incoming rockets.

It’s time to put an end to terrorism and destroy Hamas.

Israel must do what it has to and protect its generations.

We wish you and your families a meaningful Tisha B’Av.

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