Local Jewish Leader Responds To Mideast Violence - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Local Jewish Leader Responds To Mideast Violence

Members of the Beth Israel congregation met Monday night to discuss plans for building a new synagogue to replace the one Katrina destroyed.

While members of the local Jewish community are paying close attention to their future in South Mississippi, they, are also keeping a close eye on the situation in the Middle East.

"I think everyone around the world is totally distraught over any kind of outbreak of conflict. All of us want to see peace in the Middle East," said Steve Richer, President of South Mississippi's Beth-Israel Congregation.

Some world leaders have called Israel's bombing of Qana an act of aggression. Richer disagrees.

"Israel has recently given the Gaza region over to the Palestinians. Israel is trying to find every way to bring peace that it can, but when you have constant, year-in, year-out terrorist attacks, just like we wouldn't want to see here in the United States. At some point you just can't continue to allow people to be blown up in buses, blown up in discos, in pizza parlors."

Richer says he's saddened by the violence overseas and says members of the Jewish-American and Lebanese-American communities in South Mississippi want the same thing -- peace.

"Many of us have relatives there, just as the Lebanese that have been featured in the local media. We all want peace. Every one of us. We need to find a way to end terrorism wherever it exists, and to end terrorism particularly as a means for political answers. That's not the way to go, and it shouldn't exist anywhere on the face of the planet," he said.

By Toni Miles

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