NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nashville’s Jewish community is working to stand with Israel following destructive attacks by Hamas militants near the Gaza Strip early Saturday morning.
So far, more than 1,100 people have been killed, including at least 700 in Israel and more than 400 in Gaza, according to the Associated Press. There have also been thousands injured on both sides, as well as numerous people taken captive.
Rabbi Dan Horwitz, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville, said the attacks came on a holy day for the Jewish people.
“The attacks came on the holiday of Simchat Torah, which is literally a day that’s meant to be a joyous celebration,” Horwitz explained. “Needless to say, what we hoped would be tears of joy were also very much mixed with tears of sadness.”
According to Horwitz, many in the local Jewish community have ties to Israel, including his own sister.
“A rocket hit in Tel Aviv only a couple blocks away from her apartment while she was caring for her best friend in the building who is nine months pregnant and due any moment and not sure whether or not she can get to the hospital,” Horwitz said. “These are real people on the ground whose lives are being turned upside down in this moment courtesy of terror.”
Israel’s Security Cabinet officially declared the country at war with Hamas on Sunday, Oct. 8, and U.S. officials have deployed weapons and ships to offer support to Israeli troops.
The Jewish Federation also plans to send donations overseas. On Monday, Oct. 9, organizers are asking all people who stand for peace to join them for a rally outside of the Gordon Jewish Community Center in West Nashville.
“The lingering trauma that will come from it, there will never be a recovery. This is unlike any attack in Israel’s history in terms of its magnitude. This is being compared to 9/11 and the impact that had on us here as Americans,” Horwitz explained.
The rally will begin at 7 p.m., but attendees are encouraged to arrive early since extra security will be on campus.
“My prayer and hope is that the war ends as soon as humanly possible to minimize suffering on both sides, because lord knows your average Palestinian is now going to be suffering to courtesy of what Hamas has done,” Horwitz said.