The Portland and Southwest Washington Jewish communities stand in solidarity with Israel in defending itself against Hamas terror attacks from Gaza.

Despite Israel’s complete withdrawal from every inch of Gaza in 2005, and ever since Hamas’ hostile takeover there in June 2007, the population centers of southern Israel have been terrorized by thousands of mortars and missiles fired from the coastal strip. Over seventy percent of Israel’s population (5.6 million Jews and Arabs) is under daily threat of rocket fire from Gaza. An untenable situation to begin with, Hamas’ most recent escalation constitutes an act of war.

Every nation has a fundamental right to self-defense; indeed, no country would tolerate the continuous violent attacks against its citizens from across its border by a terrorist group bent upon its destruction. We therefore unequivocally support Israel’s right to defend itself and we hope, for the good of all – Israelis and Palestinians – that Hamas ceases its attacks and its exploitation of Gazan civilians as human shields in schools, mosques, hospitals, and homes.

Even as it tries to protect its innocent civilians, Israel is taking steps to provide advance warning (via leaflets and calls to cell phones) to Palestinian families in Gaza to evacuate target sites. In the past week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet have exercised substantial restraint in the face of Hamas’ actions. Sadly, that restraint has been met by Hamas deliberately escalating and provoking.

We are grateful for the US’s role in funding the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system and for American statements of support for Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks that no sovereign state anywhere would tolerate. And while we yearn for an enduring peace and an end to this violence, we also urge international diplomats to continuously remind the world that there is no moral equivalence between Hamas’ deliberate targeting of civilians and Israel’s military response in self-defense. The only solution to this crisis is for Hamas and the other radical groups to stop the rocket attacks. Now.

We pray for the peace and security of Israel and continue to yearn for the day when the Jewish state will enjoy that peace and security amongst all its neighbors. In the meantime, we stand with Israel and our Israeli brothers and sisters.

Jewish Federation of Greater Portland
Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation
Oregon Board of Rabbis
Oregon Area Jewish Committee