From Our CEO
July 14th Press Conference: Israel’s Right to Defend Itself
July 14th, 2014

These are remarks from Eric S. Goldstein, CEO of UJA-Federation of New York, made at a press conference outside New York’s City Hall on July 14th. The press conference was organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, and UJA-Federation was one of its co-sponsors.

Thank you to all the speakers here today who stand in solidarity with Israel — united in affirming Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks on its civilians, and united in affirming that no country and no people should have to live this way.

To see this unity expressed here today from across the political and religious spectrum is a powerful message, and we are grateful for your unwavering support.

These are dark and trying times in Israel. But these are days that also remind us what it means to be a people. With federations across the country, we last week collectively committed to send $10 million in emergency funding to Israel. And with our unique network of social service and humanitarian agencies in Israel, we are working around the clock to address the acute needs of those under attack.

There are more than 37,000 children living within a 25-mile radius of Gaza who have been forced to run to bomb shelters multiple times a day since the rocket fire began. In fact, many have been spending most of the day and night there.

With the Jewish Agency for Israel, we are arranging to take tens of thousands of children on day trips away from the affected region, to relieve the stress and trauma of living under attack.

For thousands of elderly and disabled living in southern Israel, the current bombings mean that the senior and community centers where they typically go on a daily basis for food are now inaccessible, causing profound anxiety and suffering.

With the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, we have arranged for the delivery of food and medicine directly to these vulnerable populations.

And there are many thousands of Israelis now experiencing acute anxiety and trauma. With the Israel Trauma Coalition, created by UJA-Federation in the wake of the second intifada, mobile units and resilience centers are operating across Israel, providing critically needed therapy.

We wish comfort and courage to the people of Israel, and we again reaffirm the unshakable bond shared by Jews the world over.

We hope and pray for a quick return to calm and stability in Israel.