Avinu She’Ba’Shamayim, O God on High, Rock and Guardian of Israel, bless the State of Israel, which marks the dawning of hope for all who seek peace. Shield it within the embrace of your love. Spread over it the canopy of your peace.
As we awoke this morning, we learned the devastating news that Israel had suffered a series of highly coordinated attacks by air, land, and sea at the hands of Hamas. In a fashion eerily reminiscent of the Yom Kippur War 50 years and one day ago, Israelis were terrorized as they prepared to celebrate a Holy Day – this time Simchat Torah.
At the latest count, 100 Israelis have been killed and 900 wounded. It appears that Hamas terrorists have captured a number of Israeli soldiers and civilians and taken them captive in Gaza, and Hamas militants that infiltrated through the Gaza border remain at large, creating terror in communities in Israel’s south. More than 2,000 rockets have been fired toward the center of Israel.
Hamas’s leadership now seeks to bring other Palestinian and Arab communities into this fight, demonstrating that, for some, their desire truly is to see Israel erased from the map. For them, coexistence will never be acceptable. That the attack comes just as Israel and the Arab world are endeavoring to strengthen ties with a commitment to aid the Palestinian people too, demonstrates the depths of Hamas’s cynicism. To those who, despite this attack, will nonetheless claim Israel will always have the upper hand, look and see for yourself: No people is safe from terror.
We pray for peace for all innocents caught in the crossfire of this hateful war against the Jewish State – Palestinians and Israelis alike. The Palestinian people are as much victims of their leaders’ cynicism as Israelis. All deserve a life free from conflict.
But in this moment, we stand firmly with the people of Israel – our people. May peace soon be established throughout their land, and fullness of joy for all who dwell there. Amen.
Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson
Peter and Mary Kalikow Senior Rabbinic Chair