On the last day of the High Holidays, the holiday of Simchat Torah, we awoke to terrible news. Beginning at 6:30 in the morning and continuing through Saturday night, more than 4,000 rockets and missiles were fired towards Israel, Hamas terrorists infiltrating our territory and launching a series of unprecedented terror attacks against civilians. So far, 200 dead and more than 1,500 wounded are known. Unfortunately, there is no doubt the death toll will be much bigger. The actual scale of the tragedy is far from clear.
Israeli civilians are under horrific attack by the terrorist organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Those organizations are recognized as terrorists by both the US and the EU. I sincerely hope that after today’s barbaric attack, other countries and organizations will condemn these events and take action against Hamas and its sponsors. The gravity of the situation is reminiscent of the most tragic terrorist attacks in modern history.
The ordeal is far from over. Long and difficult days lie ahead.
We express our sincere gratitude to the countries and organizations that have supported Israel already and will support it in the following days. As the situation continues to change intensively and remains highly complex, I must stress that Israel is committed to respecting international law and, at the same time, has every right to defend itself against attacks by a terrorist organization that does not hesitate to violate norms and international agreements. We ask that you show your support and do not remain silent. Support Israel in your social media, statements, and press releases, as well as at the level of governments and parliaments in your countries, on the international stage, and in civil societies.
As President of the Euro-Asian Congress, I would like to state that we fully support the Israeli government and army and will do everything we can to support and protect Israeli citizens. We will endeavor to help those in need, build international ties, and attract support for Israel.
Over the past few years, aware of the challenges and dangers, we have made significant efforts to strengthen security along the border with Gaza: we have taken part in the construction of a “security road”, the installation of dozens of bomb shelters, and the planting of a barrier grove.
Against the backdrop of today’s tragic loss of life, I would like to express my deepest condolences to their grieving loved ones. In particular, our partner and colleague Ofir Liebstein, head of the Sha’ar HaNegev Settlement Council, fell in defence of his native land in battle with terrorists.
When I met this man, I immediately realized how important it was for him to ensure the security of the areas bordering the Gaza Strip and how valuable the lives of the people of the land of Israel are to him. Together, we worked on projects to build mobile bomb shelters in Shaar HaNegev and a “security road” in the border kibbutz Nir Am.
Only six months ago, one such shelter was opened in Kibbutz Ruhama. Unfortunately, that did not save the bloodthirsty terrorists from their atrocities. They did not limit themselves to firing rockets and invaded southern Israeli settlements, taking hostages.
We will not let this go. Israel will respond to terror with all its might. A response like the Middle East has never seen before. We will win this war.
May the souls of those killed rest in peace, and may their memory be a blessing.
Wishing all of us peaceful days,
Dr. Michael Mirilashvili
President of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress