Minneapolis, MN – Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued the following statement in solidarity with the people of Israel who are suffering from a recent wave of terror attacks:
“A wave of violent terrorism has left several Israelis dead and dozens others, including toddlers and young children, seriously wounded. Beyond the obvious intent of these attacks, which is to kill Jews simply because they are Jewish, these assaults aim to terrorize Israel’s civilian population and sow additional mistrust between Jewish Israelis and their Palestinian Israeli neighbors.
“In the past ten days, there has been a massive increase in the frequency and intensity of violent attacks, including a stabbing earlier today of a 70 year-old Israeli woman outside Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station. In one gruesome attack, gunmen shot and killed Eitam (an American citizen) and Na’ama Henkin in front of their four young children.
“There have been over a dozen independent incidents of stabbings in cities, including but not limited to, Jerusalem, Hebron, Afula, Kiryat Gat, Petach Tivah, and Kiryat Arba. Scores of people have been wounded. Mass riots have occurred in multiple locations, including Jaffa, while civilian vehicles have been pelted with stones and boulders in dozens of incidents causing damage, injury and death. Rockets have been fired at Israel from within Gaza.
“The situation in Israel remains extremely tense. While Israeli citizens are by and large continuing to go about their daily lives, the increased police presence; a regular background of helicopters, ambulances and other sirens; the return of security guards at public venues; and other changes are constant reminders of the tension. In recent days, many schools in Jerusalem closed as parents demanded additional security measures be put in place.
“In the face of so much violence, our thoughts and prayers are first and foremost with the families of the victims, the wounded, and members of Israel’s brave defense forces, intelligence, and law enforcement services who are working furiously to ensure the safety for all Israelis.
“More globally, we stand in solidarity with all the people of Israel at this difficult time and for all those who strive for a more peaceful, just, and secure future.
“We also commend those Palestinian leaders, including the Mayor of Nazareth, who are desperately trying to deescalate tensions, particularly as they bravely publicly oppose the incitement spewing from the leadership of the Palestinian Authority, as well as Hamas and the Islamic Movement in Israel (Northern Branch).
“Baseless conspiracy theories about Israeli intentions regarding the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, which are at the heart of this recent outbreak of lethal violence, must be exposed for the lies which they are by all responsible leaders in the region, but also in Europe and here in the United States.
“Finally, the false equivalency inherent in the demand for ‘both sides’ to exercise restraint and the soft bigotry of no expectations for the Palestinian leadership must come to an end. Instead, what is needed at this moment, where it is apparently no longer safe for even a 70 year-old woman to ride the bus, is the moral clarity to condemn this spasm of violence for what it is: homicidal nihilism and the logical fruit of decades of unchecked anti-Semitism.”
As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights anti-Semitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.