A new Middle East crisis has erupted in Gaza and southern Israel that has reverberated around the world and will leave many on Long Island with grave concerns.
On Wednesday, Israeli military forces fired a missile that targeted and killed Ahmaed Jaabari, head of the military wing of the Hamas movement. That set off retaliatory rockets from Palestinian forces directed at Tel Aviv, Israel's cultural and business capital, about 45 miles north of Gaza.
The BBC reported early Friday that Israel's aerial assault on Gaza has intensified. Israel is calling up some 30,000 army reservists amid indications that a ground offensive was possible, the BBC reported. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the army was ready for a "significant widening" of its offensive on Gaza, the Huffington Post reported early Friday.
At least 18 Palestinians in Gaza are dead and three Israelis have been killed by rocket fire. Many more are hurt. Tel Aviv has not been targeted by missiles since the Iraq war in 1991. Israeli war planes carried out multiple new air strikes on the Gaza Strip early Friday, Al Jazeera reported.
The preservation and security of Israel is a central concern to many on Long Island, who consider it a spiritual and cultural homeland. Clearly, many here, including Jews and Muslims, will be deeply disturbed by the escalation of the violence. Long Island's congressional delegation and President Obama stand firmly with Israel and its right to defend itself. Where do you stand?
Tell us your thoughts on Israel, the ongoing Palestinian conflict, and the unfolding crisis in Gaza. Your comments can help us shape the next story.