As fighting rages between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza, many of us find ourselves faced with questions and concerns. What can we do? How can we help? How can this horror go away?
These were the questions on people’s minds as Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, Middle East Analyst and Historian, spoke to a crowd of more than 100 people at the Mid-Island Y JCC in Plainview about the current Mid-East conflict.
The former IDF (Israel Defense Forces) International Relations liaison officer, author and fellow at the Middle East Forum, explained that “Operation Protective Edge” isn’t exactly what you have been reading in the media, but instead it is Israel’s mission to demilitarize the “tunnels“ in Gaza. Demilitarization means to break down the tunnels militarily, politically and operationally. Presently, the Israelis have succeeded militarily and have destroyed the structure of 32 tunnels. To start, there may be as many as 42 tunnels.
The speaker continued to express that Hamas’ ideology is “Today Gaza, tomorrow Tel Aviv.” Hamas is a zealous, Islamist, militant movement made up of many cells with one leadership which has been in power since 2006 when their party won the election. Hamas rose to power, convincing those that believe them that besides being anti-Israel and anti-U.S., they are also a charity organization and a social network that would give sustenance to those that live in Gaza and accordingly, they are deserving of the vote.
Romirowsky feels that in order to come to a resolution on this issue we must educate all so that the U.S. can recapture the narrative. There needs to be a better understanding of what is happening and why it is happening. Israel is not blowing up innocent children and refugees, but instead the Gazan citizens are being used as shields in a successful propaganda campaign.
There are no illusions that there will be peace at this moment. The hope is that there will be some form of stability. There needs to be a true humanitarian ceasefire that will actually last long enough for there to be some sense of safety for everyone involved.
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Long Island, the UJA Federation of New York and many local temples sponsored this event and will be hosting more informational programs in the near future.
Information can be found on the Temple Or Elohim website at www.templeorelohim.com.
Laurel Fried, Gail Mayer and Roz Vermut