As we closely watch the events unfolding at the Israel-Gaza border over the past few weeks, Hillel Ontario is deeply anguished. On the one hand, Jewish tradition teaches us to treasure every human life, and we are saddened by, and mourn this week’s deaths. We are also cognizant of the threats that the State of Israel is facing on the border and strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself against those who wish it harm. We condemn, in the strongest terms, the incitement of violence and use of civilian human shields by Hamas, the terrorist regime in control of the Gaza Strip. Holding these beliefs and feelings simultaneously is difficult and painful, but our love for the State of Israel, for the Jewish people, and for humanity demands that we do so.
Two thousand years ago, Rabbi Hillel highlighted the strong emphasis Judaism places on peace as an inherently Jewish value, imploring us to both love and pursue it (Mishnah Avot 1:12). Hillel Ontario and Jewish communities on campus continue to believe in, pray for, and act to advance peace. We look forward to a day when events like these will no longer occur, and when our connection to other human beings and our Jewish unity are no longer in tension with each other.