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Local community reacts to ongoing conflict in Israel, perspectives from residents in the heart of the storm

Violence has erupted once again in the region of Israel, with the unprecedented attack by Hamas intensifying tensions in the region.

With tensions between Israeli forces and Hamas intensify life in Israel is drastically different, and life as they know it changed forever. People are living in fear, wondering where their loved ones are.

“No stores are open, schools are closed, and universities are closed. Nobody is driving. Nobody is on the street,” says Rabbi Arnie Sleutelberg.


The longstanding conflict between Palestine and Israel is not a recent development.

“The Balfour Declaration declared British support for a Jewish homeland in the region. All of that led us up to the 1948 partition agreement in which the newly created United Nations created the nation state of Israel. But they did so to the unanimous objection of all of the Arab states in the region, leading to an immediate conflict,” says David TakiTaki , a political science professor Ferris State University.

“You have an Arab world that considers much of what’s going on here to be both Western aggression and Western position. And it Israeli people, many of whom are civilians and Jewish people who came from oppressed regions around the world who simply want a state for themselves,” says Takitaki.

The Hamas, who launched the attack and are extremists don’t represent the majority of people who just want to live in peace.


“The people of Palestine and the people of Israel almost universally want to live in peace,” says Takitaki.

The unexpected wave of terror that struck Israel on Oct. 7 caught everyone off guard.

Daniel Stambler lives in Jerusalem and his family personally witnessed the initial air raid sirens.

“There was an air raid siren and I thought at first it was a false alarm because it just doesn’t happen. And sometimes they do test, but they wouldn’t do a test on the Sabbath. That’s when, you know, my daughter and son said we had to go into we have like a sort of a shelter here,” says Stambler.


“And then and then I did look at the news and I saw that there was some pretty bad stuff happening. We had no idea to what extent that only became clearer as progress and the horror started to be known,” he adds.

Daniels son had friends that were at the supernova trance music festival where the terrorist first attacked.

The terrorists just started opening fire on a thousand or so partiers. And he has a couple of friends who actually are still missing. So, they don’t know whether they were killed or abducted and taken into Gaza,” he says.

Rabbi Arnie Sleutelberg, who lives here in Michigan was in shock when he saw the terror that was unfolding in Israel, where many of his dear friends reside.


“The images that were coming through of innocent young people, civilians, old people, babies, toddlers being massacred and taken as hostages. It was just our worst nightmare. It’s become clear that that day last Saturday was the the worst day for our people since the Holocaust,” says Sleutelberg.

The people of Israel will turn to their faith to pull them through a time of darkness and uncertainty.

“I’ll give that and keep praying for the peace of Israel because it will have an effect,” says Stambler.

The attack by Hamas, which has brought immense devastation on Israel, has lead Israel to declare an all-out war.

The historically ongoing political tensions do not undermine the Israeli and Palestinian citizens who want to coincide in peace. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.

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