By Ronald S. Lauder
Recently, we at the World Jewish Congress asked the governments of the world to put themselves in Israel’s shoes.
“If it were your cities under attack, we know you would agree that a sovereign government has a duty to defend its citizens,” we wrote to the world community in a letter to ambassadors to the United Nations, those detailed to the United States, foreign ministers of the European Union and Latin American countries, and others.
“This is the time to show your solidarity and support to the people of Israel and the State of Israel,” we urged.
Our letter was very pointed. The nations of the world must know that world Jewry stands side-by-side with Israel and absolutely supports “Operation Protective Edge.”
As I write to you, millions of Israelis have spent the last number of days jumping into bomb shelters as Hamas rockets pound southern and central Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. In the south, Israelis have all of a 15-second warning to take cover from the incoming fire. How can any nation tolerate a situation in which the lives of millions of its citizens are so threatened?
In recent weeks, Hamas, an internationally recognized terror organization, has escalated its attacks – kidnapping and murdering three Israeli teenagers and launching an unrelenting rocket assault on Israel’s cities and civilians. In the face of this threat, Israel was left with no choice but to respond.
Israel tried to restore the calm without resorting to major military action, but Hamas, which has refused to recognize Israel and has repeatedly vowed to destroy the Jewish State, has only intensified its attacks.
Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Hamas has used the territory as a staging ground for rocket attacks, launching more than 9,000 rockets and 5,000 mortar bombs. Since Israel and the PLO signed the Declaration of Principles in 1993, Hamas has perpetrated more than 80 suicide attacks, murdering some 1,000 Israelis. Today, Hamas has more than 10,000 rockets that threaten huge swaths of Israel’s population. As I write, those rockets are being launched toward Israeli cities at the rate of six an hour.
All this the nations of the world well know, but we need to remind them again and again. This is the World Jewish Congress’ mission.
Ronald S. Lauder is president of the World Jewish Congress. This article first appeared on his blog at worldjewishcongress.org.