The Israel Declaration of Independence contains the phrase—Tzur Yisroel—“Rock of Israel.”  The phrase was crafted as a compromise between the religious and the secular as to how to recognize the divine in the rebirth of a Jewish state after 2,000 years.

Public safety is the first priority of any government.  There can be no compromise on this issue.  Security and democracy are the "rocks" on which the foundation of a nation lies.  This underlies the historic partnership between the United States and Israel.

Israel is acting within its sovereign right to self-defense. Among the Hamas terrorists killed was Ahmed Al-Jabari, head of Hamas’ armed Izz al-Dinn Al-Qassam Brigades.  This strike occurred after four Katyusha rockets were fired from the Sinai, hitting Bnei Netzarim, a community 3 miles from Gaza. Jabri, mastermind of numerous terror attacks throughout the Intifada and after, has been a "wanted man" for some time and is known most recently as a chief organizer in the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit.  He was also partially responsible for holding a million Israelis hostage for years as a barrage of rocket attacks strike into the heart of Israel’s civilian population.

Along these lines, today's Star Tribune carried today's New York Times story about Israel's Operation: "Pillar of Defense."  The New York Times story describes the 750 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel this year and the casualties and damage done--details not included in the Star Tribune story.  To supplement both stories, here are the facts as provided by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

·  120 rockets have been fired at Israel this week.

·  133 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza in the last 24 hours.

·  Over 760 rockets have been fired at Israel in 2012.

·  Over 2500 rockets have been fired at Israel since 2009.

·  Terrorists hold more than 10,000 rockets in Gaza.

·  One million Israelis, 14% of the population, are under the threat of rocket fire. That is equivalent to 44 million U.S. citizens under the threat of rocket fire.

·  3 Israeli civilians have been killed, Aharon Smadga, 49, Itzik Amsalem, 24, and Mirah Sharf, 26. Sharf was reportedly pregnant.

Yet again, these hostilities have been foisted upon the Palestinian people by their purported leaders.  We pray for a swift end to the hostilities for the sake of innocent Israelis and Palestinians alike.

The Israeli departure from Gaza in August 2005 was an opportunity for Palestinians to fulfill their national destiny.  Instead, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the land has become a forward position for Iran threatening Israel.  And, as an Iranian threat, it is a threat to the Arab world, Europe and the United States.

Israel and the United States stand united in their defense of democracy.  In addition to the United States, other world leaders, including Canada and the United Kingdom issued statements supporting Israel’s right to self-defense.

We thank those countries, you and our elected officials for standing beside Israel at this time.

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