UNION OF ORTHODOX JEWISH CONGREGATIONS SUPPORTS ISRAEL’S SELF-DEFENSE ACTIONS IN GAZA; COMMENDS BUSH ADMINISTRATION FOR ITS SUPPORT
Today, the leadership of the Orthodox Union, America’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, expressed its support for Israel’s efforts to extinguish years of sustained rocket fire and mortar shell attacks from the Gaza Strip into Israel.
The statement, issued by OU president Steve Savitsky, executive vice president Rabbi T.H. Weinreb, public policy chair Moshe Bane, and public policy director Nathan Diament, is as follows:
Despite having painfully and controversially removed all Israeli troops and residents of Gaza several years ago, Gaza has been nothing but a source of violence and animosity for the people of Israel. Under the rule of Hamas, rockets have rained down on innocent Israelis and anti-Israel incitement has only escalated.
Despite years of provocation, Israel has taken great lengths to avoid this sort of escalation, but was left with no other way to ensure that its civilians would not have to live in fear of rocket fire. Even while rockets rained down on the frequently targeted town of Sderot and in the town of Kiryat Gat (for the first time), Israel continued to transfer food and medicine into Gaza despite no apparent end to the attacks.
We know that no civilized nation would tolerate the type of terrorist onslaught Israel has endured until now and the Orthodox Union stands firmly in support of Israel’s actions in self-defense.
We also commend President Bush and Secretary of State Rice for their support for Israel’s defensive actions and their recognition that the onus for the situation lies squarely with the Hamas terrorists.
We pray for the safety of Israel’s soldiers as they conduct these operations, and we also pray for the wellbeing of innocent Palestinians.