‘We have an Obligation to Eliminate Hamas’

HILLSBOROUGH – New Jersey Jews and their allies, including Lieutenant Governor Tahesha Way, stood with the Lavitsky family at Temple Beth-El on Thursday night, and with Israel, as the Jewish nation moves forward to exact retribution for murderous atrocities committed against innocent Jewish life by Hamas.

Eric (pictured, right) and Jill Lavitsky of Bridgewater have two sons, Aaron and Jonathan. Jonathan serves in Israel with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). He completed his regular IDF service last August (2022) and has been told to have his bags packed and ready to report to base at a moment’s notice.

In the aftermath of the worst and most heinous mass murder of Jews since the Holocaust, he reported for duty with his shovel on Tuesday night, to dig graves for the Jewish dead.

Over a thousand Israelis – most of them civilians – died at the hands of terrorist sneak attacks last Saturday, as Israelis ended a seven-day-long observation of the Jewish festival of Sukkot. From ABC News: “Thousands of missiles fired from Gaza streaked through the sky and began raining down on indiscriminate targets in Israel, sparking terror and leaving hundreds of bodies in the streets of cities and buildings decimated. Simultaneously, hundreds of armed fighters of the terrorist group, many on motorcycles, followed bulldozers that breached fences separating Israel from Gaza and charged into cities, taking Israeli soldiers off guard and gunning down citizens.

“A music festival where hundreds of Israeli young people danced through the night into the break of dawn suddenly became a shooting gallery for the Hamas militants, who arrived in vans with their guns blazing, mowing down 260 partygoers and abducting others.”

On Thursday, hundreds filled the temple here in a strong demonstration of solidarity hosted by the Jewish Federation of West-Central New Jersey in partnership with the Shimon and Sara Birnbaum Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Service of Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Counties, Chabad of Greater Somerset, Chabad of Hunterdon County, Congregation B’nai Israel, Congregation Kehilat Shalom, Congregation Knesseth Israel, Flemington Jewish Community Center, Or Chadash, Temple Beth-El, Temple Har Shalom, and Temple Sholom.

“Indifference and silence will not work,” said Eric Lavitsky. “Speak out against media bias and… moral turpitude. It’s a huge problem. I implore you – make your case with the facts. They are as clear as the sun.”


Temple Beth-El Rabbi Arnold Gluck said nothing justifies Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas, and their infamy of October 7th.

“It was not just the latest round in the ongoing conflict between the Israels and the Palestinians,” the rabbi said. “It was a ruthless and barbaric violation of the norms of civilization, whose goal was to murder kids.”

The casualty toll as of Thursday:

1300 killed, 220 soldiers.

Forty babies

3,000 wounded

81 kidnapped and more missing.

Rabbi Gluck (pictured) focused on Hamas’ slaughter and dismemberment of innocent women and children.

“Not since the Holocaust has the Jewish people been subjected to such atrocities,” he said. But “there will be no exodus. Our people returned to our ancestral homeland, never again to be uprooted. The founding of Israel meant to put an end to Jewish defenselessness and victimhood, and so it must be.

“It must be done,” said Rabbi Gluck, who acknowledged the days ahead will try the souls of Israel and bring more anguish.

Robin Freedman-Kramer (pictured, above), executive director of the Jewish Federation of West-Central New Jersey, described last Saturday’s murderous and unprecedented attacks as “numbingly shocking.”

“Hamas,” she said, “wiped out entire families, burned babies in their beds, and [now threaten] to kill hostages one by one. It’s not easy to say these things out loud. It is excruciating to hear them and to see the images. We must do all we can.”

Lieutenant Governor Way (pictured, above) expressed her solidarity.

“To the people of New Jersey, this administration stands with you – and we are here with you,” said Way. “I know you are grieving and frightened. You are not alone.”

She described Hamas’ “vicious and unprecedented attacks.”

“This violence is without justification and reprehensible,” said the lieutenant governor.”

She recognized two New Jersey men killed last Saturday:

Itay Gliskoidf, a New Jersey native of Bergen County, and a member of the Israel Defense Forces, killed on base;

and Lior Abramov, an aspiring DJ formerly of Hopewell, killed at a music festival.

In addition, she prayed for the safe return of Edan Alexander of Tenafly, a member of the IDF, who was still missing on Thursday.

“We call for peace, but we also call for justice,” Way said. “This administration is taking every possible step to protect our Jewish and Muslim communities. There is no room for violence or hate in our state.”

A member of Temple Beth-El, Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D-16) (pictured, above right, with Senator

Andrew Zwicker (D-16)) thanked everyone for attending.

When he heard the news of the attacks and the murders last Saturday he was out walking, and felt outrage, disbelief, and anger. “Now I’ve processed and had time to think about it, and five days later, I feel outrage, disbelief, and anger,” said Freiman. “Five days later, exactly the same thing.”

It’s not Pearl Harbor.

The Japanese hit military targets.

It’s not 9/11.

On that day, the terrorists did not go into people’s homes and murder babies.

Freiman called his daughter.

“She’s frightened,” he said.

She lived in Israel.

She received the gallows congratulations of Israels when she heard her first rocket.

“But this is different,” said the assemblyman.

It’s not a day marked in time.

But days.

It’s continuing.

“The worst loss [of Jewish life] since the Holocaust,” he said. “In 1948, with the establishment of Israel, we as Jews said this was going to be our point where we affirm, ‘Never again.’ But antisemitism did not go away. Hatred is out there. This is different. This is pure evil. We cannot let pure evil exist. We know what happens and what this will lead to.

“We have an obligation to humanity to eliminate Hamas.”

Freiman quoted the late Golda Meir, prime minister of Israel.

“You cannot negotiate peace with someone who has come to kill you.”

Israel will retaliate, he said, is retaliating.

“We are here to affirm ‘never again’,” said the assemblyman. “We stand with Israel. I stand with Israel.”

Senator Doug Steinhardt (R-23) (above, left) also addressed the gathering in a show of support, solidarity, and

In attendance: Bridgewater Mayor Matthew Moench.


“I am proud to stand here tonight, with Israel, and among friends,” said the senator. “Yet, my heart aches at the evil that was unleashed against our friends and families, across the Atlantic, in the streets and in the homes of innocent men, women and children. To think that human beings, in the wake of two world wars and the atrocities that mankind committed against mankind, are still capable of such horror, is excruciating. “It is also a wake-up call to humankind everywhere that good must be vigilant. Good must be strong. Good must persevere. Or good will perish. That good must stand with good. That America and its allies must stand shoulder to shoulder with the men, women and children of Israel and against the axis of evil that is Hamas terrorists and their accomplices. “But, good will always prevail as long as there are good people willing to fight for it. Good will prevail as long as there are good people willing to fight for faith, family, home and Country. That very fight is unfolding overseas in Israel as we sit here tonight. I encourage the world to stand with good. To stand with Israel. And to stomp out evil once and for all. I wish humankind peace and love. Good health. And God bless.”

Somerset County Sheriff Darrin Russo headed security at the event.
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