Local, Regional Jewish leaders speak on war with Hamas
The Youngstown Area Jewish Federation and the Consul for Public Diplomacy at the Israeli Consulate in New York, Yuval Donio-Gideon, spoke out against the attack on Israel that began on Saturday and shared information about the surprise Hamas attack.
Donio-Gideon, who represents the State of Israel in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Delaware, said during a Zoom session Tuesday that the Saturday attack by Hamas - a Palestinian political and militant organization that governs the Gaza Strip - was "the worst terror attack in our history."
Hosting the talk was Bonnie Burdman, the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation director of Community Relations and Government Affairs director, who said the attack was planned for some time and not about the longstanding conflict in the region between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Donio-Gideon said Hamas is ISIS, in its ideology and "of its view of the media to promote its agenda."
The regional leader said the group acts without hesitation against the civilian population and that Hamas also acts against its people, with more people harmed by Hamas "far exceeds the number of citizens killed by Israel in conflicts with Gaza..."
He added that Israel had more than 900 deaths, more than 2,300 wounded and more than 150 abducted, including women, children, and elderly, ranging in age from a few months old to 85 years old so far in the war. Donio-Gideon said that this terror attack by comparison to Israel's population would be equal to the loss of more than 40,000 people compared to the US terror attack on September 11, 2001, that claimed nearly 3,000 lives.
Donio-Gideon said that Gaza is a terror country; although not recognized, it controls the Gaza area and is waging a war hidden amongst its nearly 600,000 citizens, though millions reside in the region.
He also spoke about how Hamas has fired over 5,000 rockets into Israel since Saturday.
Donio-Gideon said Isarael's response to the Hamas attack is "to make sure this type of atrocity will never happen again."
Donio-Gideon also said that the attack had been planned by Hamas for more than a year, and now Israel is moving its troops towards Gaza, with the goal of recovering those abducted people.
In recent weeks, most of the tension was centered in the West Bank, in what Donio-Gideon said was a diversion of Israel's attention to attack eight army bases. He added this attack would have taken months of intelligence coordination and training to pull off, noting that Israel somehow missed intercepting the planning of the attack.
Donio-Gideon said Israel is now investing lots of effort toward the humanitarian aspect for its citizens, to find temporary housing for those displaced by the conflict, including education and care for those in need,
Up to 20,000 residents living in the Gaza Strip were allowed to travel to Israel for work, as according to Donio-Gideon, the Palestinian area has an unemployment rate exceeding 50 percent of the population.
Burdman said that Israel "is a beacon of democracy in an area where there isn't much of that."
Budman said the issue isn't about conflict or finding a peaceful resolution, or two neighboring groups living side-by-side, but "good vs. evil, about terrorists slaughtering Jews - plain and simple... This is Israel's 9-11."
In the Valley, the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation is an organization for several agencies, including Senior Living by Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, the Jewish Community Center, and the Jewish Community Relations Council.
On Tuesday afternoon, President Biden called the attack on Israel "pure unadulterated evil unleashed on this world."
Biden said Tuesday that Hamas stated purpose for being is to kill Jews, "with more than 1,000 people slaughtered in Israel" including 14 Americans dead in the conflict.
The president said that the US stands with Israel and pledged support, "We are with Israel... make no mistake," Biden added.