Philanthropist and Activist ARIEL PENZER MILGROOM Discusses the War on Israel

"We are horrified at what has unfolded and terrified of what’s to come."

Ariel Penzer Milgroom and Jeremy Milgroom with Aharon, who runs the community center in Eilat
It is with a heavy heart that I address the grave situation unfolding in Israel, the ripple effect of which is being felt all around the world, hitting deeply within our Miami community.
Just a few weeks ago, my brother was on a foundation trip to Israel, to meet the young men we support who are learning in Yeshiva in Eilat about the importance of Judaism and of Israel. Today, 150 of 160 of those young men and the head of their school are out at war. Two are already dead.


Growing up attending a Zionist Jewish school, we heard firsthand accounts of our friends’ grandparents’ experiences in the Holocaust, most of which who had lost their entire families. News coming from all around the world, where crowds are gathering in support of these terrorist acts, feels all too familiar to the beginning stages of the Holocaust. Jewish businesses are being destroyed, and people attacked in the streets.

We are horrified at what has unfolded and terrified of what’s to come. Many parents kept their kids home from school, as armed gunmen are lined up outside of our schools, which is commonplace for Jewish Schools and temples to protect us from constant threats. My friends who cover their hair and look identifiably Jewish are really scared. Other friends are taking off their Jewish star and Chai necklaces, afraid to be openly Jewish in public in fear of an attack.

Our brothers, sisters, children, friends are being drafted from the reserves. Parents are saying a prayer and sending their children off to war with no bullet proof vests or proper supplies. Mothers and fathers are leaving their young families to risk their lives for our freedom and for our right to be Jewish all around the world.

Hamas has a goal to wipe Israel off the map and “cleanse it of the Jews” as well as eradicating anyone worldwide who does not believe the same.

How can you help? What can you do?

Donate to widely known charities. A few doing remarkable work include: Sheba, FIDF, United Hatzalah, Magen David Adom (double your donation by doing it through Bloomberg’s matching fund,) Lev Echad and IsraAID.

Write letters and emails to congress urging them to continue to fund the Iron Dome.  The Iron Dome is Israel’s main line of defense, shooting down incoming projectiles. It costs $50,000 to shoot down each rocket, thousands of which have been launched at Israel since Saturday, with tens of thousands more on the way.

In the upcoming days, Hamas has promised to execute the hostages and share the videos. These hostages are young children, babies, grandparents, Holocaust victims. Do not share these videos.

Consider taking your children’s phones away for the week. These images will affect their psych for a lifetime. They are not images you can unsee.

These images are a lot for any of us to handle. If you need to get off social media for a few days and turn off the news, be strong in your conviction to protect yourself from the graphic images, while still remaining informed.

Israel should be important to everyone, not just the Jewish People. Since the founding of the modern State of Israel, Israel has built a thriving country that protects the rights of its citizens, protects freedom of religion and ensures that all religions have access to their religious sites – something that was not allowed when Israel was not governing Jerusalem. Israel protects a free press, minority rights, and women’s rights in a part of the world where such rights and protections are alien.  The technical, medical and environmental innovations coming from Israel are vital and shared around the entire world. The fall of Israel would be the end of the world as we know it, the end of freedom and democracy.

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
—Martin Niemöller
 This quote is an indictment of passivity and indifference during the Holocaust, may the words NEVER AGAIN ring true, and may we not see that same passivity and indifference that led to millions of deaths and World War II happen today.
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