June 9, 2016
Minneapolis, MN — Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued the following statement in solidarity with the people of Israel who are suffering from an eight-month wave of terrorism, including yesterday's shooting attack at the popular Sarona Market in Tel Aviv, in which four people were murdered and sixteen were injured.
"Yesterday evening, in a coordinated act of terrorism by Hamas, two Palestinian gunmen murdered four Israeli civilians at the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv. Sixteen people were also injured, including three seriously, at this popular upscale shopping complex. This latest attack, which has been celebrated and praised by many Palestinians, raises the specter of increased violence against innocent Israelis.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and all the people of Israel. In particular, we mourn the murder of Ido Ben Ari, Michael Feige, Ilana Naveh, and Mila Mishaev. These four extraordinary Israelis, a Coca Cola executive and former commando, an accomplished and popular academic, a mother of four, and a young woman about to be married, were all so much more than just the latest victims of a century long campaign to deny the Jewish people their natural right to be a free people in their own land.
"The Sarona Market, which is a beloved gathering spot for people from all faiths and backgrounds, is also close to the hearts of the JCRC board and staff as many of us were there this past January as part of our 28 person JCRC led Minnesota State Legislator trip to Israel. We were heartened to see that a flood of people returned to the Market today to buy fresh fish, grab breakfast with friends, sing patriotic songs with strangers, or just gather in solidarity against the evil which is terrorism and to demonstrably prove once again that Israelis refuse to be terrorized by cowards who love death more than life. The JCRC looks forward to returning to the Sarona Market on our next trip to Israel.
"Notably, this latest wave of terrorism began last October with the incendiary lies of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas about the Temple Mount. In this time, twenty-nine Israelis and four others have been killed and hundreds more injured in these spasm of attacks.
"These murders at the Sarona Market are also yet another demonstration of Hamas' malevolence as they openly claim these attacks to be in honor of Ramadan. It is also a cruel irony that while Hamas is handing out sweets to children glorifying these murders, Israeli doctors are working to treat not just the innocent victims, but also one of the Palestinian gunmen who was wounded in the attack he perpetrated.
"Finally, this act of terror in the heart of Tel Aviv should prove once again the lie that this incessant wave of violence against Israelis by Palestinians terrorists can in anyway be justified or explained by the lack of progress on the peace process, the construction of homes on either side of the 1967 armistice line, the composition of Israel's government, or any other reason which doesn't squarely take into account that the actual source of this violence is homicidal nihilism and the ongoing negation by Hamas and their enablers of Israel's right to exist as a sovereign state."
As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights anti-Semitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.