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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

August 15, 2014  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Showing Solidarity

Consul General: Conflict with Hamas increases need to support Israel
By BOB FRYER Jewish Press


A community rally in downtown Tampa drew both Christian and Jewish supporters of Israel including Tampa’s Sister City Ashdod. 
Photo by RAVITAL GOLDGOF A community rally in downtown Tampa drew both Christian and Jewish supporters of Israel including Tampa’s Sister City Ashdod. Photo by RAVITAL GOLDGOF “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.” – Golda Meir

The famous quote from Golda Meir was evoked by Chaim Shacham, consul general of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico, as he updated the Tampa Bay community on the state of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in particular the ground war.

Again and again, he pointed out that Israel did not ask for the war; that it had accepted every cease-fire proposal offered, but Hamas rejected them and chose to use its innocent citizens as human shields.

He lamented the high civilian casualty rate among Palestinians, but said that is the fault of Hamas, not Israel. He asked what other nation would use as much restraint as Israel if it was under rocket attack and had terrorists tunneling their border to kill soldiers and civilians. Shacham addressed about 350 members of the Tampa Bay Jewish community at a “Solidarity Service and Situation Update,” on Tuesday, July 22 at Congregation Schaarai Zedek.


Consul General Chaim Shacham, speaks at rally at Congregation Schaarai Zedek in Tampa Consul General Chaim Shacham, speaks at rally at Congregation Schaarai Zedek in Tampa Calling Hamas’ firing of rockets at Israel “a war crime,”

Shacham said, “They commit their war crimes by hiding behind innocent civilians, by ordering them not to flee the area, knowing the value that Israel and the civilized world place on human life” and hoping for condemnation of Israel from other nations when civilian casualties occur.

In doing so, Shacham said, the actions of Hamas place Israel in a dilemma, knowing if they do nothing against the Hamas attacks, they place their soldiers and citizens in harm’s way, but if they attack Hamas, there is the danger of civilian casualties. “Morality of is no consequence to Hamas,” he said.

He noted that Israel uses phone calls, texts, leaflets and other means to urge Palestinian citizens to flee areas it will attack. “What other nation would use such restraint when under constant rocket fire?” he asked.

“Israel did not ask for this,” he said.

He said it was crucial for America to continue supporting Israel and said Israel was very grateful for all aid and support already given, including U.S. assistance with Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense system that has been very successful in shooting down incoming rockets before they get to population centers.

The event was put on by the Tampa JCC & Federation, the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Tampa Rabbinical Association with support from Orthodox rabbis as well, said Emile Socash, director of external affairs for the Tampa JCC & Federation.

She was among several who called on those in the audience to make financial donations to aid Israel.

Jonathan Ellis, president of the Tampa Orlando Pinellas Jewish Federation Alliance, joined Shacham and others to urge members of the Jewish community to do what they can in social media and conversations to help sway public opinion in favor of Israel and her right to defend herself.

In a discussion after the talk, Shacham was asked if Hamas held the hearts and minds of the Palestinian people. “No, I do not think Hamas holds its citizens by their hearts and minds, but by other parts of their anatomy,” he replied.

The following day, Shacham gave a similar update during a luncheon at the Largo office of the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties.

To make a donation in Tampa, call (813) 769-2802 or go to www.jewishtampa.com. In Pinellas, call (727) 530-3223 or got to www.jewishpinellas.org.


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