SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Days after the initial attack on Israel from Hamas, some residents in the Ozarks are still nervous.
“Social media is a great resource, so you can immediately reach out to people and double check that they’re okay, and so far, everyone is okay,” said Mara Cohen Ioannides. “There’s that immediate, ‘where is everyone?’, ‘have they found shelter?’, ‘what are they doing?'”
Ioannides has family living in Israel, adding that the attack is still shocking.
“What Hamas has chosen to do this time is a war crime,” Ioannides said. “They did not attack a military base. They did not just cross a border. They went to a festival and gunned down people and taken hostages and raped women and taken babies away from their parents and put children in cages.”
Because the attacks are coming from Hamas, Ioannides said Palestinian lives are at risk too.
“I want to be very clear here that Hamas is different than the Palestinian people,” Ioannides said. “There are civilians involved as well, Palestinian civilians and they are in a terrible position.”
OzarksFirst spoke to an expert on the Middle East about the history of Hamas, which he said has similarities to the Taliban.
“Hamas rejects Israel’s right to exist and is uses of terrorism as a mechanism to try to defeat any negotiated solution between the Palestinians and Israelis,” Dr. Jeff VanDenBerg said.
VanDenBerg says in his research, Hamas has never launched an attack like this before.
“It’s shocking that a group like that had the capacity to and have the coordination to carry out thousands of rocket attacks and invasion into Israel proper through land and in the air, through paragliders,” VanDenBerg said. “Hamas has launched attacks over the last 20 or 30 years. We’re talking about against Israel, but nowhere near the scale and devastation and the horrific consequences of this one.”
OzarksFirst reached out to Temple Israel for reaction and received this statement:
Israel of Springfield, Missouri firmly stands against all acts of hatred and violence. We unequivocally condemn the divisive forces of hatred and injustice. They would perform, condone or encourage any acts of bias, discrimination abuse, harrassment, threats, defacing of property or violence. Such acts do not represent the values of our faith, nor do they further the essential tenets of our democracy. We believe that all people should be treated with dignity and given a full and fair opportunity to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without fear or intimidation. We stand behind and support Israel. We pray for a swift and meaningful, lasting peace.”Temple Israel
Both Ioannides and VanDenBerg have raised concerns that the attacks on Israel could spark anti-Semitic attacks in other countries, including the United States.