Hamas Attacks Don't Stop Florida Jewish Community from Visiting, Living in Israel

Hamas Attacks Don't Stop Florida Jewish Community from Visiting, Living in Israel

Rather than feel the need to leave the country or cancel plans to visit due to the dozens–soon to be hundreds–of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel to indiscriminately kill civilians, members of Florida’s Jewish community say the assault “makes me want to be there.”

So said 26-year-old Cara Paley, a Florida resident planning to move to Israel in August, to the Broward county Sun-Sentinel. She says the attacks, which appear to also be coming from Lebanon today, do not give her any “hesitation” about her plans. “I have a lot of confidence in Israel, in the IDF [Israeli army], it makes me want to be there, to be united to support Israel,” she said.

Those interviewed by the paper who are already in Israel appear shaken, but confident. “We have the Iron Dome, we’re not nervous,” said Carol Stav, who is visiting friends in Tel Aviv. The Iron Dome defense system had a 90% success rate at taking down rockets from Gaza this week, according to Israeli military estimates, and has been heralded as one of the key reasons Hamas’ attacks on Israel have had little success. 

Stav does not intend to move to Israel, but Floridians who already have seem even more resolute in staying. One couple told the story of how they have grown accustomed to waking their four children and bringing them to a safe space whenever the air raid sirens go off. It is part of life, they explain: “There’s no drama here. You don’t cower in your home and you go about your business and you don’t cancel anything.”

The determination to stay and trust the IDF to keep them safe has not made the situation any less alarming, however, as videos and photos uploaded to social media this week by Israelis fleeing to bomb shelters and fleeing air raid sirens have shown. Israeli civilians nonetheless want the work of clearing out Gaza’s terrorists completed swiftly–as one woman told The Jerusalem Post, the IDF is expected to “finish the job.”

Meanwhile, Hamas continues to threaten to kill as many Israelis as possible. In a video released this week, Hamas promised that they would not only continue launching rockets, but that Israelis should “wait for suicide attacks on every bus, café and street.” The video assured that Hamas was equipped with “thousands” of rockets.

In response to these attacks, the Obama administration has called for Israel to practice “restraint,” and offered to broker a “ceasefire” that would stop the bombing of Gaza by the IDF but not guarantee an end to Hamas’ bombing of Israel.