By Joe Sterling, CNN
Atlanta (CNN) – The code-red siren blaring in Israel on Tuesday hit close to home for Rabbi Adam Starr.
His wife and daughter were visiting the Jewish state Tuesday, where Israelis have been darting for cover from daily Hamas rocket fire.
Starr breathed easy after he got off the phone with his wife.
"She's in Jerusalem," said Starr, leader of the Young Israel of Toco Hills synagogue in Atlanta. "She called me to tell me she is OK."
But he and others in his congregation and across the country remain anxious over the latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas.
"We all have many friends and family in Israel," Starr said, referring to his congregants. "We're seeing on Facebook and Twitter our good friends and what they are going through, the complexities in trying to explain this to their young children."
Starr's angst underscores the close bonds between the American Jewish community and Israel, a relationship that predates the founding of the Jewish state in 1948.
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American Jews long have felt an affinity for Israel as a bulwark against anti-Semitism and a refuge for a people escaping persecution and surviving the Holocaust.
Since its 1948 founding, Israel has fought wars with its Arab neighbors and the Palestinians.
Conflict after conflict, U.S. Jewish groups and Jewish citizens have wielded grass-roots political clout to garner American support for Israel.
Latest on the Israel-Gaza conflict
The bonds are underscored by their size. The world's largest Jewish community is in Israel at nearly 6 million people, according to estimates. The U.S. Jewish community is the second most populous at an estimated 5 million plus.
After Israel kicked off its offensive last week to stop Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli communities, Starr and others in the U.S. Jewish community sent an SOS across the United States: Help Israelis. Send donations. Demonstrate for the Jewish state. Let our brothers and sisters in Israel know they're not alone.
Jewish groups staged rallies in cities across the United States, including Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. More than $5 million in pledges to help the battered southern Israel communities has poured in, according to the Jewish Federations of North America. Jewish leaders have traveled to Israel to show their support, it said.
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"You've seen a startling consensus," said Omri Ceren, a senior adviser with the Israel Project, a pro-Israel information group, "from the right to the left, from secular/cultural to religious groups."
Ceren said things were different when Israel launched its Cast Lead offensive in Gaza in December 2008 when, he said, not all American Jews were on board.
"There was naïveté in parts of the Jewish community to the effect that maybe President Bush's unpopularity and his refusal to appease" rejectionist Palestinian elements blocked peace.
Arab-Americans watch conflict with mix of worry, relief
After four years of continued hostility, Ceren said, there is more of a clear-eyed view of the perceived motives of Hamas, regarded by the United States and Israel as a terrorist group that is backed by Iran.
The 2008-09 operation failed to loosen Hamas' hold on power in Gaza. The militant rocket attacks from the territory ramped up year by year.
Hamas remained staunchly anti-Israel, and Israel's economic blockade to choke off the delivery of weapons from abroad has generated grass-roots support for the militant group.
"Now that naïveté has become impossible to justify," Ceren said. "The claim that Hamas can be peeled away from Iran doesn't pass the laugh test."
Israel has massed troops at the Gaza border and has threatened a ground offensive. Even though American Jews widely support Israel's right to defend itself from rocket fire coming from Gaza, there is disagreement about the best way to do that. Prior to the recently announced cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, there was much hand-wringing over the wisdom of Israeli ground troops re-entering Gaza.
Some hope a ground war will be avoided, but it's a hard call.
"It seems to be a no-win situation," said Max Rosenthal, active in the small Jewish community of Huntsville, Alabama.
Israel can't live with thousands of rockets coming in every single day, he said. And it faces the challenge of trying to thwart Hamas without killing "huge amounts of people."
"If we go in with a truce, it'll be OK for a few months, then they'll start over again, they'll get more rockets in."
But Rosenthal and other U.S. Jews stress that the destruction of Israel is Hamas' avowed goal. And the future he sees is one of constant conflict.
"There's a feeling this is not going to end well, one way or the other," he said.
"My own feeling is a feeling of despair. I don't see any way of resolving it other than going in and wiping out Gaza and that is certainly not what anyone wants to do."
The executive director of J Street, a Washington-based advocacy group which bills itself as "the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans," questions whether further military action by Israel "would end the rockets and make Israel more secure" after Cast Lead.
"Today, rockets are more numerous and powerful. Israel is more isolated in its region and more ostracized around the world," said Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street executive director.
"Only a political resolution to the century-old conflict with the Palestinians resulting in two states living side by side can end the conflict. Without that, in a few short years, we'll be right back here again: anger deeper, rockets more powerful, and political forces yet more extreme."
There's no question that Israel has a right to defend itself, just like any other sovereign nation, said Lindy Miller Crane, a member of Atlanta's Jewish community.
"If rockets were fired to the United States from Cuba, I would hope that the U.S. would react," she said.
Yet, like many Jews who consider themselves politically liberal, she is "ambivalent and conflicted" about how to achieve peace.
If and when a cease-fire comes together, she's worried about the follow-through.
She said that's because it seems as though no progress has been made to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian issue since the 2008 Israeli military operation in Gaza.
It's like the movie "Groundhog Day," Crane said.
She believes that if Israel can start addressing issues of racism and inequality, this will help the Jewish state initiate a strategy that will bring permanent peace with Palestinians.
"It's something that's going to have to happen," said Crane. "When I think about the future of Israel – peace with the Palestinians is one aspect of that."
Israel has negotiated with the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, which runs the government in the West Bank. A main stumbling block to an Israeli-Palestinian peace has been the existence and expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
There is vehement disagreement among U.S. Jews about Fatah and its motivations.
Fatah casts itself as distinct from Hamas, which calls for the destruction of Israel (Fatah does not). But they aren't much different, according to Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of pro-Israel group StandWithUs.
Just read and listen to Fatah's anti-Israel rhetoric, educational system, and media, she said.
They "don't acknowledge there's an Israel next door," she said.
Israel "can get tough on Hamas" and weaken it politically by working with the Palestinian Authority - which is dominated by Hamas' rival, Fatah - toward creating an Israel and Palestinian state, wrote Peter Beinart for the Daily Beast.
"The problem is that in order to make Hamas suffer for opposing the two-state solution, Israel's government would have to truly embrace that solution," he wrote.
But he didn't hold out any hope that Israel would do that.
"Taking a hard line against Hamas requires taking a hard line against the settlements – and at the end of the day, this Israeli government is soft on them both," he wrote.
Near the war but far from the political ferment, Jodi Mansbach, an Atlanta urban planner, sat in a Tel Aviv cafe this week.
Her 16-year-old son is spending a semester at an Israeli high school, and she was visiting him for the Thanksgiving holiday.
After the conflict started, her son had to be transferred from his school in Be'er Sheva, in the southern Israel danger zone, to Tel Aviv - a relatively safer location, despite a bus bomb and air raid sirens.
Mansbach admires the cool way her son's teachers and counselors and Israelis in general cope with fear. They know how to handle life amid air raid sirens, shelters and rocket fire.
"It's so much more scary on the news," she said.
She also draws inspiration from people of other nations, tourists and business people from places like Sweden and Germany, who share her hotel in Tel Aviv.
"The American Jewish community should take a cue from the rest of the world. They are here," she said, referring to Jewish and non-Jewish visitors.
"They are not letting the conflict get in the way. To me, that's incredibly inspiring."
Yes CNN, after a week of depicting Palestine as the victim by showing dead Palestinian children as if they are the only ones suffering tell me how I feel about this conflict. Fantastic stuff.
Suffering is good for them. God loves suffering.
Believing Jews love Israel and everything it stands for
Secular Jews, especialy from the East Coast hate Israel,
Figure that one out
Not all secular Jews. I know a few Jewish people with no religious beliefs who still feel like they have a claim on the land.
The Balfour Declaration (dated 2 November 1917) was a letter from the United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild (Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild), a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.
His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
Stealing of Palestinian (Arab) lands all for the purposes of creating a jewish homeland brought about by the 2nd generation jewish banker and his syndicated fellowships is truly a shame!
We don't hate Israel, we love peace and justice for all, including the people of Gaza who deserve freedom and a normal life without a blockade.
I am a secular Jew from the East Coast, and support Israel. From what source is your information based? Seems that it is flawed.
just like in America the only people who have a claim to the land is the native Americans
the only ones with a claim to Israel is the Canaans
who are not Turkish half breeds that occupy it now
so if you don't pray to Asherah or El Elyon you have no right to claim the land
That's one slant. Here's another - Jews who still believe in vain supernatural fairly tales think dirt is more important than human life. Secular Jews realistically believe in human life, and that ANY human life matters more than decayed carbon matter and prioritize peace and happiness on this earth above pleasant ego-stroking fairy tales.
If your posted question was meant for me here is where I got my info from,,,
I don't care much for Israel either. Most Israeli's think Americans are just spoiled anyway and want our monies. Well, aid to Israel and others should be based on negotiating peace, period. The majority want peace. Israel needs to quit giving these settlers anything they want and come to a final agreement, period.
Wikipedia is flawed
Only way to cracken ism is abandonment of that stupid mechanical owl in the original Clash of the Titans movie Zuesism, filthy medusa ism, denial of stop motion visual effects absolute ZUES by that stupid mechanical owl in the original Clash of the Titans movie perseus, ignorant Poseidon harry hamlin s, or lightening will keep giant scorpions on their feet as long as that stupid mechanical owl in the original Clash of the Titans movie Jew's and their belief in andromeda ism , hind harry hamlin ism is around.
If 1800 years from now, descendents of native Americans came over and took over the USA, claiming it was their land, and decided to subjugate US citizens, making life miserable for them...... what would it be like...? What would it be like if Americans were not allowed to defend themselves, have an army...? What would it be like if the superpowers of the day, actually used force to help the few million native Americans take over ....and subjugate Americans....and if a few americans decided to fight for their freedom, would you call them terrorists? What would you call them?
I'm not sure what I would call them, but hindu-bot would call them hindu filthy ignorant hind denyers of absolute truth, GAWD.
Nothing ever would excuse slaughter of innocent civilians on any side. Nothing excuses "blood money" Hamas accepts for keeping Palestinians in the state they are in right now. Nothing can explain knowingly provoking military action that puts own citizen in jeopardy.
Word terrorist means nothing but a self centered, and first one to use this word are none but hindu Jew's, criminal self centered to defend thei hindu Judaism, criminal secular ism.
Gee Tommy, the US does actually belong to Native Americans and they never left it! So what is your point?
American Indians are to American, what Jews are to Israel. Some Jews have been on the land since 3500 years ago. Larger numbers migrated back in the 1800s and found very few people, animals or plants on the land. It was a wasteland. They started buying the land and cultivating it. The hire immigrant workers at one point. The Arabs that were there sold the land to the Jews or stayed on and became the Israeli Arabs. The "Palestinians" are mostly immigrants, offspring of Immigrants, which are of different ethnicity. Now for some reason they think they own the land. The "Jewish settlers" own the land they are building on. They purchased it. Why is it OK for Arabs to buy land in downtown Manhattan next to ground zero and build a Mosque against the will of most Americans, but it is not OK for a Jew to buy land and build in the middle east?
Hamas, Sunni Aghori, denier of truth absolute promised land, period.
There is an easy solution for this. Ethnic annihilation. Why does Israel not go all the way. Instead of killing the Palestinians by the hundreds at a time, just get them all and get it over with. After all it is not like they can exodus out of Gaza to save themselves!
I like gaay men and I luv to share....we pump each other silly and do stuff on a dare! We all like to roll a train...we pound dat hole till its really sore! Da dudes with the super-sized meaty rod.....they iz da ones with the killa bod! Now dats my story and u all know...when the party gets goin the guys start to blow....da dongers be floppin and flyin around....cuz we be fairies and get da gruntin sound! Boyeeee!!
I be a fairy and I be a fruit…I take it in da rear which makes me poot! I pak dat fudge and shlurp da knobs…I polish it up, from rick, steve and bob! I rock dat dude and play with his tool…and when I’m done I clean up my drool! I’m a chubby dude still livin at home…but nightly I pick up guys and polish their chrome!!!
Is'nt it remarkable that people who have suffered untold crimes inflicted upon them by people of another race have been doing a similar thing now on people of another race ? Israel was created from lands belonging to Palistinians and over last sixty five years or so, it has denied if those people even exist. A number of generations have been born and died in the refugee camps, and Israel continues to exapnd its borders by demolishing palistinian homes and making new settlements. May be people in Israel should truly look inside their hearts and see whether they want to live in a peaceful world or just make more orphans on the other side. I believe some ones on both sides, who have seen how much misery they have put on the opposing side, come to the plate and negotiate a just settlement of this conflict that has gone on for too long. In this effort, Americans of Jewish faith can help as facilitators and not as instigators.
Treat someone monstrously and you will create a monster.
Palestinians are the cause of their own misery. What have they accomplished in 70 years? Did they not get enough money and support from all the Arab world that is swimming in oil money? Do they not receive all kinds of aide from UN, US? Why are they not focusing on their true problems? Why do they choose to murder?
Hey boy toyz! Give me your digits and I will give u a ring. We can hook up and I will make it a fling. I will rock dat coq and play with your sack..when u spray all dat goo I won’t give u any flack! I slurp it all down and make your head spin…I guzzle that salty stuff with a grin!! Fill me up…Solo cup!!
Moshe Dayan, address to the Technion, Haifa, reported in Haaretz, April 4, 1969. Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population."
It's called to the victor go the spoils.
We are often reminded by the zionist propaganda that states that The Palestinians never exited and all biblical trash that they use as immunity for deception of the masses and the last week was no an exception. here is murderer David Ben Gurion said:
The Jewish Paradox), pp121. : David Ben Gurion (the first Israeli Prime Minister): "If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti – Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault ? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?" Quoted by Nahum Goldmann in Le Paraddoxe Juif
Ben Gurion also warned in 1948 : "We must do everything to insure they ( the Palestinians) never do return." Assuring his fellow Zionists that Palestinians will never come back to their homes. "The old will die and the young will forget."
Their Butcher Sharon stated:Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don't worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it." – Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, October 3, 2001, to Shimon Peres, as reported on Kol Yisrael radio. (Certainly the FBI's cover-up of the Israeli spy ring/phone tap scandal suggests that Mr. Sharon may not have been joking.)
and here you see who was bragging abiut Genocide: ... we should prepare to go over to the offensive with the aim of smashing Lebanon, Trans-jordan and Syria... The weak point in the Arab coalition is Lebanon [for] the Moslem regime is artificial and easy to undermine. A Christian state should be established... When we smash the [Arab] Legions strength and bomb Amman, we will eliminate Transjordan, too, and then Syria will fall. If Egypt still dares to fight on, we shall bomb Port Said, Alexandria, and Cairo." " David Ben-Gurion, May 1948, to the General Staff. From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York 1978.
I am close friends with Nate Higgerz and Cate Hoons! They iz da bomb racists!! I just wanna get down and get bizzy with a flamin fairy....as long as it isn't a spoook!!
If I may, -insert religion here- are the stupidest people on the face of the planet Earth.
I hope this awful hatred and mutual disrespect will end someday, but it is unlikely unless something BIG happens, something that will make both sides take a long hard look at what they have accomplished- nothing.
I am not an expert on Northern Ireland, but didn't these guys get sick of killing each other?
Only way to peace is abandonment of hindu Judaism, filthy secular ism, denial of truth absolute GOD by hindu Jew's, criminal secular s, or fire will keep on burning under their feet as long as hindu Jew's and their belief in Lucifer ism , secular ism is around.
Well too bad you voted for Obama. He has no interest in taking sides on this one and won't back Isreal despite the fact that so many American Jews supported him at the ballot box. Good luck.
I wanna jig-abooo with a big ol tool. I see that size and it makes me drool! I grab ahold and ram it into my rear…he slams my fat rump and it brings out a tear! Now I be sore but its all good…cuz I be a flamer and keep searchin da hood!!!
I am a muslim American and i think peace is the most important thing. I don't understand why peace is so difficult to achieve but yet voilence is so easy to accomplish. Honestly there are small group of radicals ideologist from both sides are bennefiting from this voilence. It's the innocent Israel's and Palestinians that are caught in the middle that have to pay the ultimate price. we need to form an organization that lobbies for promoting peace in the middle east. these lobbies must be formed by group of Muslim, Jewish & Christian Americans who want to promote peace and isolate the extreme radical leaders from any leadership position. I am fed up seeing death on TV on this 21st centry. come on America wake up.
We need to let them kill each other off once and for all. Then make the "Holy Land" a national park civilized people can enjoy on vacation.
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I feel too very sad for both the Israelis and the Palestinians when they fight, suffer and die, but Kameni hates the Jews so much that he will keep giving weapons and money if not to Hamas, to other groups to fire on the Israelis who will retaliate. There is only one solution, and the Saudi King said it – cut of the snake's head.
I poop on palistinians...they are cave men
You must have right full experience of it, who was the good guy?
When you gotta go, you gotta go.
Please use one's latrine to poop upon Dr, cynical!
I'm American, I'm Jewish and I do not unreservedly support Israel. Frankly, a lot of American Jews feel that America's support "no matter what" has made things worse because Israel has no reason to compromise.
True. And that CNN reporting only makes the story even more unclear and full of half truths. Just take a look at any of the stories reported by that criminal Wolf Blitzer
Of course reading Communist News Network, about "Israel Attacks Gaza", most American Jews are Capos. I've never met a Jew-hater so intensive as an athiest American Jew. Something Oedipal at work.
Who before this day's Age was found to be those worthy of goodly and even Godly praises? Who after us will find peace set before them? Who in today;s timeline are these "sons of man" that many should fear them for their worthiness stance? Who above can see the below? Who that is below can see what be above? From the very smallest and lowest crevice to the most high chasms, the Sea of Nothingness is the Holy Spirit. May the elemental gods, the Sons of God find favor in these cherishing crevice-found sons of a common life man that they may not be afflicted with this world's power but rather they should carry upon them the angst from their manhoods till their natural deaths. Yes are my words so written as being of deism but I harken upon deism as being God's unending Sons, those elemental gods who did make in guilts shamefulness their taking of mankind's women, an unjust travesty to be once warned against but now acclaimed as high minded treasurings! In God are all things made cleanly and cleared up thru leveraging timeliness.
Only God's sons, being the elemental gods could make a real tree and in their unending lengths of progressive natures did they create mankind's celestial presence. God in His Holy Spirit being the absolution of all and every considerations makes well all things be they physical or be they minded in thoughtfulness considerations. The Holy Spirit of Almighy God is the Great Sea of Nothingness which where-in does abound floeing streams of the pleasentries in apparelled beings ever cleansed in opulence conditionings. In all godly places are many structured things so well placed. Whomever can say differently the amassing of things that are bound by His gravimetric conditions? Who dare I ask?
I know. That is why the world does not have very much respect for American Jews. I certainly don't. The Jews in Israel are much smarter and understand that Hamas is a terror group with the goal of wiping Israel out. Israel is protecting itself and American Jews are part of the problem.
What up fools? You iz all gonna wanna join my hate group? KKK iz da bomb!! Let's all run dem spoooks out of our 'hood!!
Call it KKK or hindu Judaism, both mean ,hinduism,, illegality based on hindu filthy Judaism, self center ism, secular ism, denial of truth absolute GOD.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.