By Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33)
The Pennsylvania Senate unanimously passed Senate Resolution 185, which I introduced to unambiguously stand with Israel against the terrorists who killed 1,400 of her citizens.
At a time when Republicans and Democrats rarely agree on anything in Harrisburg, we agreed about this. On one of the most controversial issues in one of the most dangerous parts of the world, Pennsylvania supports its friends in Israel.
My own family has been blessed to visit Israel. I’ve been to the wailing wall and prayed there several times. We stood in the valley of Elah where David slayed Goliath. I walked where Jesus walked and surveyed the Golan and stood by IDF soldiers on the Jordan border. The People of Israel are truly special, blessed by God.
As Deuteronomy 11:12 says, “It is a land that the Lord your God seeks out; the eyes of the Lord your God, are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.”
Most of us have seen the video and read the news about what happened Oct. 7. Peaceful Israeli citizens were enjoying a music festival when the unthinkable occurred. Hamas terrorists invaded the area, stormed the festival and slaughtered innocent civilians. Those who were not murdered were taken hostage.
The road outside the festival looked like a scene from an apocalyptic horror film. Dead bodies littered the ground between abandoned cars, many of which were charred after being set on fire.
Many Israelis live in small communal towns, known as a kibbutz. On the morning of Oct. 7, many of them were celebrating the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah.
The celebrations were interrupted when armed bands of Hamas terrorists stormed the kibbutz, brutally killing innocent men, women, and children. They even murdered helpless babies.
There can be no equivocating on the fact that Israel has the right to defend itself.
Pennsylvania, like the United States, has a special relationship with Israel. The Pennsylvania National Guard has deployed troops to the Sinai Peninsula since 2007 as part of an ongoing international peacekeeping mission. They stand watch to ensure the 1978 Camp David peace agreement between Egypt and Israel is upheld.
The old axiom tells us those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. We must remember our history. The nation of Israel was created in the aftermath of World War II as a safe haven for Jewish refugees from across the world. The rebirth of the Jewish nation in 1948 marked a new chapter of hope in human history. Jews for centuries had been persecuted and uprooted wherever they went. After thousands of years of tragedy and turmoil, many Jews finally returned home to the Promised Land.
The establishment of a Jewish state was a historical achievement in the wake of the Holocaust. Millions had been rounded up, shipped off to concentration camps and never seen again. Those fortunate enough to survive described the experience as hell on earth.
The world together in unison cried, “Never again!”
More than 75 years later, the people of Israel are being targeted for slaughter. The fact that it’s happening in the nation formed to protect them makes it even more heinous.
The state Senate unanimously approved my resolution pledging Pennsylvania’s support for the people of Israel.
We know we cannot allow history to repeat itself.
For Israel, “Never again” means “Never again.”
Sen. Doug Mastriano represents the 33rd Senatorial District, covering Adams and Franklin counties, serves as chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and is a U.S. Army combat veteran. He introduced Senate Resolution 185, which was approved unanimously by the Senate and condemns the recent terrorist attacks by Hamas while expressing condolences and support for the state of Israel and its people.