Letter to Cleveland City Council from Jewish Federation of Cleveland
There is nothing that the Jewish community wants more than peace. Read more about our thoughts on a ceasefire agreement in our recent letter to the members of Cleveland City Council.Read More
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- There are 16 million Jews worldwide today.
- 74% of the 9.7 million people in Israel are Jewish.
- 2.4% of the more than 332 million people in the United States are Jewish.
- The modern state of Israel, which was established in 1948, is the size of New Jersey.
- Israel is the homeland for the Jewish people – Jews were indigenous to the land dating back to the Biblical times.
- There has been a continuous Jewish presence there, despite being under the control of various empires such as the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines.
- Britain governed the land after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1917 and ruled it under British law until 1948.
- Zionism is the movement supporting a homeland for the Jewish people. The vast majority of American Jews consider themselves Zionist.
- Israel withdrew all of its citizens and soldiers from Gaza in 2005 in another attempt to create peace in the region.
- Nearly 5 million Palestinians live in Gaza and the West Bank combined.
- Hamas is the governing authority in Gaza.
- Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union.
- Hamas, which is backed by Iran, explicitly seeks Israel’s destruction and the murder of Jews – a as stated in its charter and repeatedly reiterated by its leaders – and seeks to rule the entire territory “from the river to the sea.”
- Purposely killing and kidnapping innocent civilians are war crimes; members of Hamas are not freedom fighters, they are terrorists.
The attack on Israel by the terrorist group Hamas was the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust:
- 1,200+ civilians killed, including Holocaust Survivors, children, and parents
- 4,500+ civilians tortured and wounded
- 240+ kidnapped to be used as human shields – from the elderly to infants – and including Arab Israelis
In a cruel and murderous rampage, the terrorist group Hamas infiltrated Israel and:
- Murdered entire families in their homes
- Killed babies in ovens
- Raped women so violently that they broke the pelvic bones of their victims
- Tortured victims in front of their families
- Stalked and massacred at least 360 young adults attending a music and nature festival outside of Re’im, near the Gaza border
- Burned down homes
- At least 31 American citizens and six Canadians were killed in the attack, as were citizens of Ukraine, Thailand, Great Britain, Germany, the Philippines, and other countries
- Fourteen Americans and three Canadians are still missing
Since October 7th, the terror group fired over 10,000 rockets toward Israel’s major population centers.
- Like every country, Israel has the right to defend its sovereignty and its citizens from terrorism, rocket fire, and incursions.
- Israel has gone to great lengths to help innocent Palestinians out of harm’s way, including working with the United States and others to create a safe humanitarian passage “corridor” which hundreds of thousands of innocent Palestinians have used to take refuge. In coordination with that, Israel has allowed nearly 1,500 aid trucks into Gaza to provide the innocent civilians with necessary food, water, and supplies.
- Israel has provided irrefutable evidence that Hamas built an elaborate tunnel network that runs underneath hospitals, mosques, and schools throughout Gaza – including the largest hospital in the territory, al-Shifa. Video footage from the hospital obtained by Israel shows Hamas bringing kidnapped Israelis to al-Shifa on October 7th, which is widely recognized as a war crime – as is using civilian human shields and firing rockets indiscriminately at Israeli cities and civilians from civilian centers as Hamas also does.
- Hundreds of Members of Congress, Governors, and local officials have joined President Biden and leaders from around the world condemning the attacks and supporting Israel.
- Israel has created peace and normalization with five Arab countries in the region.
- Israel entered into peace accords with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) – now known as the Palestinian Authority (PA) – through the Oslo Accords signed in 1993 and 1995.
- The PLO/PA is the recognized authority of the Palestinian people.
- Israel has accepted proposals related to a two-state solution on five different occasions while the Palestinians have rejected each one including an offer of 93.5% of territory in the West Bank and Gaza and a share of East Jerusalem.
- Iran also supports the terrorist organization Hezbollah (Southern Lebanon) and – as a new development – the Houthis (Yemen), both of which are regularly attacking Israel with drones and missiles.
- Today, Hezbollah has more than 150,000 rockets pointed at Israel.
MYTH: Israel is not interested in peace with the Palestinians
FACT: Israel has created peace and normalization with five Arab countries in the region and entered into peace accords with the Palestinians called the Oslo Accords. Israel has accepted proposals related to a two-state solution on five different occasions while the Palestinians have rejected each one including an offer of 93.5% of territory in the West Bank and Gaza and a share of East Jerusalem.
MYTH: Israel is an apartheid state
FACT: Israel is a democratic nation with safeguards designed to ensure the equal treatment of all citizens – Jewish and Arab. Israeli laws and democratic institutions, including the independent courts and robust free press, are assigned to uphold and speak out for these rights. Israeli Arab citizens serve as judges, ambassadors, legislators, journalists, professors, artists and play prominent roles in all aspects of Israeli society. And for the first time, in 2021, an Islamist Arab political party is a partner in a governing coalition.
MYTH: Gaza is an open-air prison
FACT: Hamas is the ruling authority in Gaza and has been responsible for the well-being of Palestinian citizens there since this terrorist organization took over in 2005. Israel supplies Gaza with only 50 percent of its electricity and 13 percent of its water supply. Gaza is not cut off from the outside world. In the last year, the markets of Gaza have been flooded with produce and merchandise. The border of Gaza and Israel is guarded on the Israeli side just as any sovereign nation monitors its borders.
MYTH: Israel is engaged in genocide
FACT: There is no Israeli ideology, movement, policy or plan to exterminate or expel the Palestinian population. In fact, the country’s Palestinian population has more than doubled since 1997. Supporters of Hamas use the term “genocide” to demonize the state of Israel’s efforts to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks.
MYTH: “From the River to the Sea” is a slogan for Palestinian independence
FACT: This slogan advocates for the state of Israel not to exist and for all Jews to be expelled. It is a call for the genocide of Jews, not peaceful co-existence.
MYTH: Antisemitism is not a big problem in the United States
FACT: Over 55% of all religiously motivated hate crimes targeted the Jewish community in 2022, despite being just 2.4% of the US population. Since Hamas’ terrorist attack of Israel on October 7, 2023, preliminary studies show an increase of harassment, vandalism and assault targeting Jewish people of 360 percent. At the same time, reports found more than 100 anti-Israel rallies in the U.S. that explicitly or implicitly supported Hamas and/or violence against Jews in October 2023.
We continue to pray for the safety of Israel, its defense forces, and all innocent people in the region who are in harm’s way and for the speedy, safe return of those who have been kidnapped.