Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued the following statement:
“JCRC is relieved a ceasefire was reached between Israel and the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group. We stand in solidarity with our friends and family in Israel and are inspired by Israelis’ resilience in the face of terror. As we conclude Tisha B’Av (the major day of communal mourning on the Jewish calendar), we reflect on the importance of coming together in unity and solidarity.
“We are deeply grateful for the life-saving Iron Dome missile defense system, which was developed in partnership between the United States and Israel and demonstrated a 96% success rate by intercepting some 300 projectiles fired toward populated areas since Friday evening.
“In September 2021, JCRC applauded the bipartisan Congressional support for Iron Dome. All members of the Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota delegations – except Rep. Ilhan Omar – voted to replenish the extremely effective yet financially expensive defensive system.
“Operation Breaking Dawn differs from past rounds of conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza in that it was the Iranian proxy militia Palestinian Islamic Jihad — instead of Hamas — who ignited the violence. According to 2022 JCRC Annual Event speaker David Horovitz, Iran has ‘reportedly funneled tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars to PIJ in recent years to finance its recruiting and its weaponry in both Gaza and the West Bank.’ Horovitz noted that PIJ’s commander was being hosted by his funders in Tehran while Israel conducted Operation Breaking Dawn, which successfully diminished PIJ’s ability to terrorize Israel.
“We hope that the ceasefire holds, and that calm is restored to Israeli communities. Meanwhile, Gaza continues to suffer under leaders more concerned with harming Israel than helping the people it claims to represent.
As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights antisemitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.