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Boca Mayor Singer was just near Gaza

(Excerpts from Mayor Singer’s Facebook post https://www.facebook.com/ScottSingerBoca

My heart has been broken by the senseless, brutal, terrorist murders by Hamas, and some of them have hit closer to home for me. In March, I joined a delegation of nine American mayors to Israel through the American Jewish Committee Project Interchange and we visited Kibbutz Erez, a little more than a thousand yards from the Gaza border. Among the people we met was the mayor of the Sha’ar Hanegev regional council. I was devastated to learn that Ofir was shot and murdered defending his community. 

Mayor Liebstein and our guides told stories of the community’s challenging life so close the border. We saw the spot where terrorists’ missiles had killed their neighbor. We saw the school bus stop for young children – brightly painted bomb shelters. To live there, everyone needed to be able to get to a bomb shelter within a dozen seconds in case of missile attacks. 

The brutal scenes of the last day and the mental images of what must have happened on the peaceful streets and playgrounds I walked just a few months ago are beyond comprehension.

This was an unprovoked, cowardly invasion during a holiday and the Sabbath. Hamas leadership not only killed, maimed, and kidnapped thousands of civilians – children, mothers, and the elderly among them – but also released footage of their own cheering of the barbaric hostage taking.

This is not a time for neutrality, but rather to stand strong and in solidarity. With hostages taken and still held, there is no peace for them or their families.

Fellow Jewish Americans face alarming increases in antisemitism here. Earlier this year, the Boca Raton City Council unanimously adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism as a better tool for education and law enforcement.

In March, I saw a bit more in Sha’ar Hanegev about the existential threat Israelis face every day, from terrorist groups who do not merely disagree on policy but deny the Jewish people’s right to exist and, further, threaten their extinction.

Please join me in prayers for the safety of those who defend against terror, the swift and safe return of the innocent hostages, and that both peace and justice should reign throughout the world. 

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