POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Rabbi David Goldstein put in perspective the horror of what happened on Saturday in Israel.
“The most Jews murdered in a single incident since the Shoah, since the Holocaust,” Goldstein said.
The deadly Hamas terrorist attacks are hitting close to home for his community in Polk County.
“Within this congregation, we already know of one casualty from close family,” Goldstein told News Channel 8. “She was at the concert and as of yesterday morning we were informed she died.”
As American Jews mourn the loss of more than 1,200 lives, there was an interfaith gathering Wednesday at Temple Emanual of Lakeland to show support for Israel.
“All people, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, have to stand together against evil,” Goldstein said.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd addressed the crowd of more than 100 people and offered a strong condemnation of the terrorists who carried out the attacks on civilians.
“Hamas is evil,” Judd said. “They’ve always been evil and they will be evil until they are eliminated. They’re a terrorist organization. They are not militants. They are not freedom fighters.”
Judd also reassured Jewish residents of Polk County who are worried about their safety and security.
“Our team has always been supportive and protective of our Jewish community,” Judd said. “We love our Jewish friends. We love all the people of Polk County and we’re going to keep them safe.”
As the war continues, Goldstein said there can only be one outcome.
“And unfortunately there is only one solution when you have somebody like that,” he said. “You’ve got to go in and root it out or you’re asking for it to happen again and that’s going to come at a heavy price.”
While there has been support for Israel since Saturday’s deadly terrorist attack, Goldstein said he is worried about the coming weeks. He fears there will be outcries of disproportionately as Israeli soldiers fight to defend their homeland.