An Open Letter to the Sarasota-Manatee Community
BE PART OF ISRAEL’S SOCIAL IRON DOME
Israel is hurting today, as is, the entire Jewish world. To our beloved State of Israel – we at The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee stand with you and embrace you.
As soon as Israel’s ground operation began, the Egyptian foreign minister strongly criticized Hamas, saying the terrorist organization could have saved dozens of lives had its leadership agreed to the Egyptian cease-fire proposal. His concern, in particular, was for the innocent children who have been killed during this operation. A child’s life, any child, is sacred. Children deserve to live in safe, loving and nurturing environments. It is so unfortunate that children pay the price for terror, cruelty and are cynically used as human shields and as propaganda tools. And don’t forget Hamas was DEMOCRATICALLY elected….
We hope that the children of Gaza will be able to live their dreams and to grow up in respectful, human conditions. We have no quarrel with them or their people. Soldiers have repeatedly seen young children in Gaza sent out into the streets with guns to try to attack IDF troops. One parent reported that terrorists had run at IDF soldiers with a gun in one hand and a baby in the other. If soldiers fired, the parent added, the child’s death could be used as propaganda against Israel. They are not our enemies, they are victims of a harsh reality and further evidence that Hamas is cavalier with human life, including our Israeli children, who spend their days huddled in bomb shelters.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on the goings on in Israel and the Gaza Strip over the last week. Hundreds are dying – and all because of Hamas. There is no need to mince words about it. Since early July, 2,040 rockets have been shot from Gaza into Israel. How many were intercepted by Iron Dome? It’s irrelevant, because we now have a generation of traumatized Israelis. No photo ops of dead bodies like in the streets of Gaza. But then again, photo ops won’t show the internal scaring. Rockets don’t have to hit the ground to leave a lasting and painful memory of round-the-clock sirens.
139 rockets were fired from Gaza, yesterday alone. One hit next to a school in Ashdod. Another struck an empty kindergarten in the Shaar HaNegev region. A house was hit in Yehud and a rocket landed 1 mile from Ben-Gurion Airport causing international fear and cancelling all flights in and out of Israel. We’ve lost 32 brave soldiers while they were uncovering and destroying tunnels built by Hamas with international aid money that was meant to feed, clothe and house Palestinians.
Let’s pull back for a larger world view. Almost every major foreign leader has spoken up against Hamas aggression and for the right of Israel to defend herself – even the notoriously anti-Israel, Ban Ki-Moon of the United Nations. Yet still, the news of violent and anti-Jewish protests are being reported in Paris, Melbourne, Berlin, Vienna, Amsterdam, London and even Boston and New York. It’s a venom, a stench, yes… an absolute vitriol that we have not seen for 7-decades. Synagogues and Jewish owned shops are being looted and destroyed by pro-Palestinian rioters. Old fashion Jew Hatred/Anti-Semitism at its absolute worse. It has gotten so bad that French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has stated “to attack a synagogue and a kosher grocery store is quite simply anti-Semitism and racism.”
So there it is – this Federation – The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee – supports Israel unequivocally. We are part of Israel’s “Social Iron Dome”. If one day, not too far in the future we see that there is no safe haven for world Jewry to thrive and flourish, our children and grandchildren will look back to those who were silent and ask “Why?” Let us not be silent. If we don’t stand up for Israel and Jewish communities wherever they are, no one else will.
TOP 6 WAYS YOU CAN HELP ISRAEL
1. DONATE: One-hundred percent of money raised goes directly to our overseas partners to support the most vulnerable populations in Israel. DONATE HERE
4. LOBBY: your elected officials. Visit our Political Advocating page for state and national contact information as well as tips for properly formatting your communications.
5. SOLIDARITY: Tell the IDF soldiers you support them via the website: Friends Of The Israel Defense Forces
6. SUPPORT: Buy Israeli products locally:
– A Taste of Europe, 2212 Gulf Gate Drive: Pickles, Olives, Couscous & Coffee
– Bed, Bath & Beyond, 6567 S Tamiami Trail or 111 N Cattlemen Rd: Ahava Beauty Products, SodaStream Home Carbonation Systems
– Comfort Shoes Siesta Key, 5128 Ocean Blvd: Naot Sandals – Garden Argosy, 361 St Armand’s Circle: Ayala Bar Jewelry
– Katy Rose Olive Oils, Lakewood Dr, Lakewood Ranch: Olive Oil – Galilee & Golan Heights
– Publix, Various locations: Kosher section with Israeli products
– Reasons Shoe Store, 20 N Lemon Ave or 57 Boulevard of the Presidents: Israeli shoes
– Total Wine, Cooper Creek Blvd, University Park: Israeli wine
– Ulta, 103 N Cattlemen Rd or 6515 S Tamiami Trail: Ahava Beauty Products
– The Walking Company, 3501 S Tamiami Trail or 380 St Armands Circle: Naot Sandals
– Israeli products are also available at your local Temple!
WHERE DO THE DONATIONS GO?
- For the price of dinner for two—$53—we can provide a critical day of relief for children living closest to the line of fire. A day away from the front lines—in summer camps, youth villages and enrichment classes—is more than a day in the country. It is a respite from the confines of the indoor playgrounds that, for more than 13 years, have become their “normal” play spaces.
- In normal times, Federation-supported senior centers provide thousands of seniors living in poverty—many of them Holocaust survivors—with food and comfort. Today, it’s too dangerous for them to travel, and many are living within the walls of their apartment bunkers. Our partners are deploying more caseworkers to bring food, medicine and comfort to the elderly—and other vulnerable groups like the disabled—in their homes.
- When sirens blare, tens of thousands of Israelis take cover. But when the all-clear sounds, many continue to suffer from trauma that may not be as visible as a physical injury, but is just as real. Partner programs are providing psychological assistance to help 15,000 civilians and first responders weather the current storm.
- Local municipalities are at the forefront of managing community services and responses to attacks. Targeted local assistance helps bridge the gap between government aid and needs, enhancing the resilience of individual communities.
Questions? Contact Jessi Sheslow at 941.343.2109 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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