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Statement on Today’s Horrific Attacks on Israel

Reconstructing Judaism and Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association logos


Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association are horrified by today’s massive attack on Israel by Hamas. We condemn the attacks unequivocally and join in solidarity with the people of Israel on this harrowing and difficult day. The scope and magnitude of these attacks, intentionally conducted in the early hours of Shabbat and Simchat Torah, is on a scale not seen in many years. Over 250 Israelis have been killed, over 1400 wounded, and dozens of Israelis have reportedly been kidnapped and taken hostage by Hamas. We pray for the safety of all those taken hostage and call for their immediate release.

We hold the leaders of Hamas and other militant groups responsible for this senseless loss of life, and we demand international accountability for these outrageous war crimes. Today, thousands of families across Israel are terrified. We are scared for them. We are also scared for Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza. We know this violence will lead to more violence. Israel has already launched strikes in Gaza, and hundreds of Palestinians have been killed. This is a day of profound anguish and horror.

We support Israel’s right to defend itself in line with international law in the face of such violent and indiscriminate attacks. We pray for a swift end to this violence, and we hope that a slide into even further conflagration and suffering for Israelis and Palestinians can be prevented. When it is over, we recommit ourselves to working for a just and long-term solution.

Resources to help during this difficult time:

Ways to Help in this Time of War in Israel:

Magen David Adom is Israel’s “Red Cross”. It has activated all 1,400 of its ambulances and is treating the wounded, often while under rocket attack and gunfire themselves. MDA EMTs are among the casualties.

Your help is desperately needed to put more ambulances on the road and to replenish supplies for both EMTs and paramedics and for MDA’s blood services division, which is supplying blood for the wounded.

Reconstructing Judaism is a member movement of the WUPJ. Their emergency appeal is focusing on providing funds for immediate needs, informal educational programs and childcare, elderly assistance, mental health counseling, and more.

“Our educators in Sderot, Ashkelon, Beer Sheva, Rehovot, Tel Aviv, Rishon Letzion, and other affected communities are assessing all the critical needs and addressing them. Educators are in touch with students, program participants, neighborhood leaders and groups, making sure they are safe and accounted for. Emergency initiatives include:

Supporting evacuees: Daycare and programs for traumatized children and youth are desperately needed for families who have been evacuated from Gaza border communities under attack to Dead Sea Hotels, our boarding school in Mitzpe Ramon, and more.

Youth counselors in bomb shelters: In underprivileged communities where people don’t have safe rooms in their homes, our experienced youth educators are running therapeutic and educational programs for children and families in Rehovot and Ashkelon, with more locations opening as soon as deemed safe.

Daycare for children of hospital workers and other essential staff: We are currently fielding requests from hospitals throughout Israel to set up daycare centers for children of doctors, nurses, and staff so they can treat the injured while schools are closed.

Support for children and families sheltering in place: We are providing in-person and online programming and distributing activity kits and other educational materials in Sderot, Ashkelon, Rehovot, and more.

NIF’s network of NGOs in Israel have a 4-part emergency response plan they’ve activated, and they are asking for donations at this time to implement it. The plan focuses on:

Basic care for the most vulnerable groups: While the country reels from this attack, we must make sure that no communities are left behind. Families in the kibbutzim near the Gaza Border are still not reunited and may not have the access to care that they need. A number of Bedouin citizens from unrecognized villages in the South have been killed and many more injured. With very little infrastructure – including very few bomb shelters—and decades of neglect by consecutive governments, this community needs urgent support to ensure that basic care is available for those injured, left homeless, and for those needing arrangements for the dead. These are just examples of two vulnerable groups that need our help right now.
Combating violent speech and incitement online: Ever since news of the attack first broke, right-wing extremists have been calling for revenge and attempting to escalate an already dangerous episode by inciting hatred and fomenting violence in mixed Arab-Jewish cities and towns throughout the country. Learning from past experiences, we know how quickly and easily these kinds of inciting messages can spread and lead to conflicts and conflagrations on the ground. We need to help de-escalate, de-platform and disempower these voices online.
Preventing inter-communal violence in mixed cities: Through focused efforts with municipalities, the media, and local grassroots leaders, we have to work to prevent the spread of violence into mixed Arab and Jewish cities.
Mental health and trauma counseling: We know that yesterday was among the most terrifying and traumatizing days for Israelis in recent memory. People are shocked and reeling and we know that when that shock begins to fade, there will be a massive need for trauma counseling and mental health support for many, including civil society leaders, who will need to show up for their communities and lead long-term efforts even as they deal with their own trauma.

The Reconstructionist Network