HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Israel declared war Sunday as it bombarded Gaza with airstrikes in retaliation for a major surprise attack by Hamas that killed more than 900 Israelis. Over 500 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed; at least 11 Americans are dead.
The militant group’s unprecedented attack sent shockwaves worldwide, including in Connecticut. The Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford held a solidarity rally Monday night in West Hartford.
“This is Israel’s 9/11,” Greater Hartford Jewish Federation President David Waren said.
The video in the player above is from the 5 p.m. newscast on (10/9/2023).
Hamas’ attack on Israel is personal for Khen Raviv, the co-owner of Crown Supermarket in West Hartford.
“I feel very connected to Israel,” Raviv said. “It’s my house. It’s my home.”
Raviv was born and raised in Holon, Israel. On Monday, He continued to call friends and family, including his parents, in hopes they were safe.
“My family are very scared,” Raviv told News 8. “They are sitting at home. They are not leaving the house. The sirens go on and off constantly.”
Raviv knows that feeling of panic first-hand. When he visited in December 2022, he said tensions were high.
“I was there a year ago when the sirens called me outside,” Raviv said. “I end up in a shelter with children who are just scared. The only reason why people come after us is because we are Jewish.”
In Connecticut, there has been a rise in antisemitic incidents. The Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford worries Hamas’ hate could be felt in the state.
“Whenever a conflict is broken out in the Middle East in the past, we see a rise in antisemitic and violence targeting Jews around the world,” Waren said. “So, we don’t have any reason to believe specifically here, but we’re taking every precaution working closely with law enforcement, and it’s something deeply concerning.”
Waren said Hamas is committed to wiping out Israel, and that’s what this attack was intended to do. He told the Jewish community and beyond need to unite now more than ever.
“These rallies here and across the country send a message to the people of Israel that they are not alone,” Waren told News 8.
“Most important thing is to stay united,” Raviv said.
For people outside the Jewish community, Waren said there are a few ways to help: educate yourself and your family, consider donating to the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, with 100% of proceeds going to Israel, and pray.
The Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven held a rally on Monday night in Woodbridge in support of Israel.
Hundreds gathered together at the event and comforted one another.
“We all know someone, or lots of people who are there who are serving who are missing, who may be potentially hostages,” Greater New Haven Jewish Federation CEO Gayle Slossbeeg said.
During the rally, local Jewish leaders called on the Connecticut community to stay alert, check on each other, and stay connected as they are concerned the violence in Israel may spill over to America.