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Israel's Deputy Consul General: Enough is Enough

July 24, 2014 By:
Elad Strohmayer
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Elad Strohmayer address the pro-Israel rally on July 23, 2014. Photo by Amishai Gottlieb.

The following remarks were delivered by Elad Strohmayer, the deputy consul general to the mid-Atlantic region, at the July 23 Israel solidarity rally.

הַצְּבִי יִשְׂרָאֵל עַל בָּמוֹתֶיךָ חָלָל אֵיךְ נָפְלוּ גִּבּוֹרִים:
 

“Your pride and joy, O Israel, lies slain upon your high places! How the mighty have fallen!”

32 Israeli heroes have fallen in the past few weeks while exercising their highest duty: defending our people. 3 Israeli civilians were killed by Hamas' rockets only because they were Israelis.

2,100 rockets have been fired at Israel in the last 3 weeks by Hamas, causing terror and fear in an attempt to disrupt our daily routine.

But let me be clear: We will not surrender. We will not give up. The Israeli people are resilient and strong. We choose life and will not let Hamas' war crimes dictate how we live. Come walk in the streets of Israel today. You'll see people that may be afraid but are still strong. Afraid for their own safety and for the lives of their loved ones who are at the field of battle now, but strong as we continue to thrive: summer camps go on, with security adjustments; restaurants and cafés are full of people who want to enjoy the sunny days; and yes, our airport is open and working and it’s still the safest airport in the world with the highest security level! Israeli airlines personnel work hard to make sure that every person — Israeli, Jewish, non-Jewish - can come to Israel today and show their support. We stretch out our hands and invite the people of the world to see the wonder that is Israel.

My dear friends,

We are gathered here today to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

We have shown restraint in the face of 9000 rockets that were fired at Israel since 2005. We have shown restraint when they kidnapped soldiers, slew innocent children and secretly dug tunnels of terror under Gaza to infiltrate Israel and kill more people.

We have shown this restraint because unlike the deadly terrorists of Hamas, we cherish human lives, no matter if it's the life of an Israeli or a Palestinian.

Saying the IDF is the most moral army in the world is not an empty slogan: Hamas is using its own people as human shields. They're firing at us from within schools, mosques and hospitals. The IDF identifies these terrorists hidden within the civilian population in Gaza and alerts the innocent people to evacuate. But Hamas not only ask them to ignore these warnings, but actually threatens them and physically forces them to stay in their homes. Hamas' war crimes tactics are the reason we have taken on so many casualties.

I have friends on the ground. As we speak, my brother is in the reserves protecting our homeland. He tells me from firsthand experience the reality of fighting Hamas' murderous tactics.

In the neighborhood of Saja-iya, where many Palestinians lost their lives over the last few days, the Hamas' terrorists hide behind innocent civilians. This is a double war crime killing their own people and targeting ours for death.

They have twice violated a humanitarian cease-fire which they have asked for! They use the humanitarian aid that Israel passes to Gaza on a daily basis in order to construct more tunnels of terror. So far, more than 850 trucks with supplies entered Gaza from Israel, jeopardizing the lives of the Israelis involved. Hamas uses these supplies not to help its people but to strengthen its terrorist infrastructure.

Hamas is solely responsible for any humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

We will not allow it. We have all heard numerous world leaders stating that Israel has the right to defend itself and that they would have acted exactly the same if it had happened to their countries. I thank them for their support. But I want to correct them in one important thing: it is not our right to defend ourselves. IT IS OUR DUTY AND OBLIGATION to do so. No other nation in the world will sit quietly while 80 percent of its citizens are under constant attack!

The reality is that we care about our enemy's lives more than they do: The U.N. has discovered that two UNRWA schools were used by Hamas as a shelter for rockets. We build shelters to protect our people. They build shelters to protect their Iranian provided rockets. Despite this, it didn’t prevent the U.N. Human Right Council in Geneva to assemble for the 7th time to discuss Israel so-called human right violations. You know how many times they have assembled to discuss human rights violation in North Korea? Once! In Iran? Zero times.

But we're here today to shout it loud and clear again and again: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

If you look across the street you will see a group of anti-Israel demonstrators that are shouting lies and words of hate towards Israel, towards us. I don't hate them. I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry that their hearts are full of hate. Around the world we see demonstrators shouting "Death to Israel, death to the Jews" with burning hatred in their eyes. Synagogues were broken into and burnt in Paris. Pro-Israel demonstrators are terrorized by anti-Semites. And yes, it's time to call it as it is: Anti-Semitism!

Anti-Semitism again raises its ugly face. We said it very clearly 70 years ago: NEVER AGAIN! Never again will Jews be the target of hate and burning anti-Semitism. Today the Jewish state will defend itself against this burning hatred. We will do so because our motivation and driving force is not hate or fear. Our motivation and driving force is LOVE! In these difficult times our compassion even extends to the Palestinian people who are under Hamas' oppression.

We are here in LOVE Park, in the city of brotherly love, shouting out loud our love for human rights. Our love for everyone's right to live and thrive. Our love for the strong support and friendship of the United States of America. Our love for the troops that are defending our country. And most of all, our love for our homeland, ארץ ישראל, the state of Israel.

Dear Friends,

As an Israeli and a representative of the State of Israel, it is heartwarming to see the strong show of support and friendship you're demonstrating today. Gathering here together we demonstrate the shared values of our nations: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Let this rally and many others around the country be a beacon of love and call for peace. We want to live peacefully together. It is our nature to pursue peace. This is why we say on a daily basis in our prayers:

עושה שלום במרומיו הוא יעשה שלום עלינו ועל כל עמו ישראל

“He who makes peace in high place, he will make peace for us and for his people Israel.”

Let us shout loud and clear that we stand with Israel, as standing with Israel is standing for love and not hatred, for life and not death, for liberty and freedom and not tyranny, for happiness and not sorrow, for peace and not terrorism, for human rights and not Hamas' war crimes, for diversity and not prejudice, for the hope for a better tomorrow.

Let us all shout together so the protesters with their hatred will hear it loud and clear. Let us all shout together so that the friends of Israel worldwide will hear it loud and clear. Let us all shout together so the people in Israel will hear it loud and clear. And then, they will all know that:

WE STAND WITH ISRAEL

(Shout it with me)

WE STAND WITH ISRAEL

WE STAND WITH ISRAEL

WE STAND WITH ISRAEL

WE STAND WITH ISRAEL

Thank you very much, Toda Raba!

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