KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It has been 10 days since the terrorist group Hamas attacked Israel, killing and injuring thousands of people.
“Every Jew, wherever they are, whether it’s in America, Australia or in the far east, wherever they are, we were attacked,” said Rabbi Yossi Wilhelm from the Chabad of Knoxville.
Bryan Goldberg the President of the Knoxville Jewish Alliance says since the attack, there has been a rise in anti-Semitism. “Since that time we have seen a 400% increase in anti-Semitic acts of hatred,” Goldberg said. “We’re talking about vandalism, aggression, assault, and its not just here in America.”
The anti-Semitism prompting Jewish schools and synagogues to ramp up security.
“I was talking with our security professional right before that I was talking with security groups within our synagogues and temple here locally,” Goldberg said. “We’re in contact with local PD, we’re in contact with our network of security partners regionally in the state of Tennessee and nationally. Just yesterday, I was in Washington DC to get debriefed by Secretary Mayorkas and the Department of Homeland Security and what they’re doing from the top down.”
President Biden visiting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.
“The rest of the world, the rest of western civilization when they saw what happened they stood up to the plate and the condemnation and the support that Israel received,” Rabbi Yossi said.
Following the meeting, President Biden gave a speech in which he reminded people that most Palestinians are not part of Hamas.
Hasan Atatrah is the son of a Palestinian refugee. He hopes the two sides will cease fire.
“Some of them denying the very existence of the Palestinian people or the existence of occupation. It perpetuates harm. It perpetuates islamophobia. It perpetuates anti-Palestinian hate,” Atatrah said.
On Friday, several groups are organizing on Market Square at 6 p.m. in support of a “Free Palestine.”
“We are organizing this action along with Jewish Voice for Peace, along with Women in Black which is a group of Israeli and Palestinian women who organized to push for the end of the occupation. We are organizing it with local Muslim community and with countless Palestinian refugees,” Atatrah said.
Though leaders believe this war could be long, Goldberg hopes in the end, peace will win.
“Palestinians and Israelis are living in the land of Israel side by side together in love,” Goldberg said. “Whether or not that’s two states or some iteration of that is a political decision to be made by regional partners and I’m sure America will have a play in that.”