Local religious leaders and politicians are responding to the Hamas attacks on Israel over the weekend. The death toll, reported by the Wall Street Journal and CBS News now makes this the largest loss of Jewish civilian life since the Holocaust.
“When Israel’s right to exist and its sovereignty is threatened, that’s really, really scary, and it hits close to home,” said Jay Lewis, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City.
Lewis said the attack fell nearly 50 years to the day of one of the worst attacks on Israel, the Yom Kippur War. “Totally surprised, unprecedented during one of the holiest days of the year — Shemini Atzeret,” he said.
Some members of Lewis’ organization fear for their loved ones who are living amid the turmoil.
“It has been our biblical and ancestral homeland, but it has saved the lives of so many Jews who, throughout this century, had nowhere else to go,” Lewis said. “We set our synagogues and we face east toward Jerusalem on a daily basis, so Israel is always in the thoughts and minds of Kansas Citians.”
As the situation evolves, Lewis said he understands the toll that feelings of unrest and uncertainty can take. But while supporting Israel from afar, he vows to ensure the safety of the Jewish community at home. “Kansas City can and will always be a safe place for Jews,” he said.
Missouri House Speaker Dean Plocher and Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden also condemned the violence and expressed their support for the Jewish people and Israel.
“As the top two elected officials in the Missouri Legislature, we strongly condemn the series of attacks carried out by Hamas in Israel today,” a joint press release said. “These acts of violence have caused immense suffering to innocent civilians and should be seen as an act of war.”
Plocher and Rowden continued in their statement: “We reiterate our unwavering support for the State of Israel and its inherent right to defend itself against acts of terrorism and aggression. The terrorists and terrorist regimes that planned and are carrying out these unprovoked and vicious acts of violence deserve swift justice at the hands of Israel and her allies, including the United States of America. We are hopeful President Biden will recognize the error of his policy in recently sending $6 billion to Iran and do whatever it takes to reaffirm our strong support for Israel, both in these trying days and weeks to come and into the future.”
holds Americans hostage, Joe Biden is enjoying a picnic with a live band,” he tweeted.
Other local political leaders also commented.
- Eric Schmitt, R-Mo.: “Americans are waking up to shocking news as Israel was attacked last night. These brutal terrorist attacks have left dozens dead and hundreds wounded, and were carried out by Iran-backed terrorist group Hamas. Israel has every right to defend itself.”
- Josh Hawley, R-Mo. “Hamas terrorists are deliberately targeting innocent civilians in Israel in despicable acts of war. I stand with Israel and support Israel’s right of self-defense as they defend their people and their homeland. Now as ever, the United States must support Israel.”
Roger Marshall, R-Kan.: ”Our hearts go out to Israel in their fight for their lives right now against the barbaric attacks on civilians at the hands of Hamas terrorist. America stands with Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Israeli people, and our unwavering commitment to their safety and security.”
- Jerry Moran, R-Kan.: “I am appalled by Hamas’s attacks on Israel. I strongly condemn these actions and resolutely stand in support of Israel as it responds to this terrorism. The suffering of Israelis and Palestinians at the hands of this Iranian-supported terrorist group must end.”
- Mark Alford, R-Mo.: “I am heartbroken at the horrific attacks perpetuated by Hamas terrorists in Israel today. I unequivocally condemn this violence. I have always supported security assistance for Israel, our close ally in the Middle East.
- Emmanuel Cleaver, D-Mo.: “America stands with Israel today and every day. As we condemn the abhorrent attack on our ally, the US supports Israel’s right to defend itself from senseless and unprompted violence.”
- Sharice Davids, D-Kan.: “I am heartbroken at the horrific attacks perpetuated by Hamas terrorists in Israel today. I unequivocally condemn this violence. I have always supported security assistance for Israel, our close ally in the Middle East.”
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice