STATEMENT BY AZM PRESIDENT WILLIAM D HESS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: William Hess or Karen Rubinstein
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STATEMENT BY AZM PRESIDENT WILLIAM D HESS
ON SITUATION IN GAZA

(New York, NY, December 29, 2008) In the face of repeated warnings of the consequences of renewed rocket and mortar attacks against Israel, Hamas has chosen to launch attacks of increased severity and frequency against the Jewish State. Israel has long practiced restraint despite provocation, but with the growing barrage of missiles landing in southern Israel, the situation became intolerable. This past weekend, Israel’s government made the decision to defend its citizens by stopping those who fire upon them.

We commend the successes of the Israel Air Force in destroying the supply tunnels, which enable the transfer of increasingly sophisticated weapons into Gaza. We are thankful for the support and understanding of the Bush administration and hope the world community will follow its lead. We know that no nation on earth would withstand such sustained assaults and threats against its civilian population, whether perpetrated by an elected government or an armed band, without such a response.

The cynicism of the Hamas leadership, demonstrated by the embedding of ordnance in Gaza’s civilian populations, is as heinous as are the attacks launched against Sderot, Otef Aza, and Ashkelon in recent days and which threaten to reach even more deeply into Israel. We grieve for all the innocent lives lost and shattered in this conflict.

Today is the conclusion of the season of Chanuka, the festival of lights. It is a Zionist holiday celebrating Jewish sovereignty. Our Chanukiyot glow at their full brightness today. Let them light the road to understanding between Israel and the Palestinians and ultimately to a full and lasting peace for all in the region. May Gilad Shalit, who remains a hostage after more than 900 days in captivity, soon be safely returned home to his family and nation. Let nation not raise swords or rockets against nation, let peace shine on Jerusalem.

The American Zionist Movement, the American affiliate of the World Zionist Organization, is an umbrella organization of 35 adult, student and youth Zionist organizations, which spans the ideological spectrum from right to left and includes the Orthodox, Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements.