ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Locally, the Jewish community is responding to Saturday morning’s attacks in Israel.
According to the Associated Press, “the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip have carried out an unprecedented, multifront attack on Israel, firing thousands of rockets as dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated the heavily fortified border in several locations and catching the country off-guard on a major holiday.”
News 8 sat down with leadership of the Jewish community here in Rochester, hearing from them about how they plan to move forward.
“This is like Israel’s 9/11,” The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester’s CEO, Meredith Dragon says.
Early this morning, Jewish Federation officials say that nearly 2,500 rockets were fired into Israeli towns near the Gaza strip. Dragon says this kind of attack is the first one in 50 years. She adds that she believes it was planned months before.
“People are scared,” she says. “This is unprecedented. Israel hasn’t seen an attack on it’s soil like this in 50 years and today actually marks the 50 anniversary of the Yom Kippur war, which was the last time Israel had an attack of this magnitude.”
Today, the Jewish community celebrates the holiday Simchat Torah, which celebrates the final reading of the Torah. Dragon tells News 8 that this attack is felt in the hearts of the community in Rochester, saying some have friends and family who live in Israel.
“This is very personal for us, and I think people are shocked, upset and scared for their loved ones,” Dragon says.
Following the attacks from this morning, the Israel Prime Minister says they are now at war with the terrorist group called Hamas.
“This is terrorism,” Dragon says. “Hamas is a terrorist organization, they’re a known terrorist organization. If we think about any other country and how they would respond to this kind of attack, I think we have to give Israel the space to respond as any other country would.”
The Jewish Federation is already looking for ways to support. They say they will soon be launching a fundraising campaign to support victims of terror. In addition, they say this campaign will fund trauma support.
“So as you can imagine, the trauma in the country right now, particularly for children, for children who’s seen their families go off to war,” Dragon says. “Children who have been impacted themselves, who have been a part of this.”
With the support the Jewish Federation hope to gain and send to the people of Israel, Dragon says she believes their community can and will get through this.
“The people of Israel are strong people,” she says. “Even in times like these, when war has been waged against them, they are going to continue to stand strong and stand together while they run into their shelters.”
Today, New York Governor Kathy Hochul noted she is increasing the presence of police around Jewish communities and Jewish houses of worship. She says, while there are no threats at this time, she is also in close communication with the FBI.