‘Israel is defending its citizens’
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‘Israel is defending its citizens’

During the first week of Operation Cast Lead I debated my role as shaliach, the “face of Israel” in the northern New Jersey community. Is my place here in the community explaining about the situation in southern Israel? Or should I return to Israel to be in my country and with my brothers in the reserves?

I concluded that I should stay in New Jersey. I have a vital role to play here for Israel. I take up the challenge Operation Cast Lead has thrown down to me. I feel that this is a community truly engaged with Israel, caring about its people and its plight. I am proud how the community has rallied and continues to support Israel.

These past two weeks I have met many people. I have told them that Israel has a moral and legitimate right to defend its citizens from the Hamas terrorist threat. I have encouraged them to echo the words of President Obama (during his July 2008 visit to Sderot). “I don’t think any country would find it acceptable to have missiles raining down on the heads of their citizens…. If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”

I have been called to many corners of the community to explain about the war in Gaza. I have been asked many questions, but offer this one theme in my answers. Israel is defending its citizens in a struggle for its very survival. It is our duty to help Israel by remaining engaged and updated about its plight and willing to spend five minutes every day correcting some mistruth about this struggle.

Thus I shake off my personal debate about being far away from Israel and take up the challenge. I am proud to educate for and about Israel.

I am also proud that the northern New Jersey community continues to support and “Stand with Israel.”

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