EP Jewish community rallies behind Israel

Although Israel is oceans apart from El Paso, local Jews are proud to show solidarity to the place they call home.

EL PASO, Texas - Conflicts involving Israel are once again the center of international attention. Over the month of November violence in the Gaza strip escalated with overnight raids, leaving numerous nearly a hundred Palestinians dead and 700 wounded. Three Israelis were killed.

Then the United Nations recognized a non-member, observer Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, endowing them with the power to pursue war crimes against Israel in the International Criminal Court. Civil unrest in Syria continues to bleed over the Golan Height border. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the violence has to potential to escalate Israeli-Syrian tensions, and jeopardize the region's stability.

These conflicts, along with Iran's desire to continue enriching uranium, has Jews on edge. In El Paso, with a Jewish community ranging near 5,000, are looking for ways to support Israel move forward. The main speaker at their Solidarity Rally in Support of Israel, Mayor Davidi Perl of Gush Etzion in Israel, shared his first-hand experience of the fighting.

"It was terrible to think that you live in a regular place and you get bombed on your houses and your schools," Perl said, "something you can't think about if you live in other places in the world. And we can't continue this situation."

Perl's perspective no doubt differs from Moslems in the region. ABC-7 reached out to the Islamic Center of El Paso for their perspective on current Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, but they did not immediately return phone calls.

The sentiments of those opposed to what they consider the Israeli occupation of Gaza Strip, was only strengthened by news Israel intends on Strengthening their E-1 settlement project in the West bank. The governments of Britain, France, Spain, Sweden and Denmark have all complained over the move they says would cut off access between the West Bank and Arab-dominated neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, which Palestinians say Palestinians would kill any hope for establishing a viable state of Palestine.

"Being a Jew in El Paso is wonderful because El Paso is a diverse community where everybody's welcome, whether their Jewish, Christian or Moslem," said El Paso Jewish businessman and the organizer of the rally, Tanny Berg. "

Berg said although Israel is oceans apart from El Paso, local Jews are proud to show solidarity to the place they call home.

"This is an event that allows El Paso to be the first in the nation to stand up and say 'we affirm our solidarity with Israel," Berg said.  

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