SAN FRANCISCO - This weekend's attacks on Israel by Hamas militants are being met with shock and outrage by the Bay Area's Jewish community. A number of Bay Area lawmakers have also denounced the assault, which took place amid Israel's high holy holiday season.
"This is a horrifying time for Israelis and the Jewish community worldwide," Tyler Gregory, CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council in San Francisco told KTVU. "This is perhaps a worst-case scenario that a lot of us had feared for a long time."
According to Israeli media, hundreds of people were killed, and many more were injured, during a barrage of rockets and gunfire from Hamas militants, who also stormed the Gaza Strip on Saturday. Palestinian health officials have also reported casualties in the hundreds following an Israeli military counter-attack.
"I have a lot of friends in Israel and in Tel Aviv, and across the county that I’m in touch with," said Gregory. "Many have been in bomb shelters, in and out of the past 36 hours, going into a safe room with their families, and checking their phones for updates to make sure rockets aren’t falling nearby."
The attacks on Israel were swiftly condemned by President Joe Biden on Saturday.
"Israel has the right to defend itself and its people, full stop," said Biden. "This is not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks. The world is watching."
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Locally, Biden’s message has been echoed by a number of area lawmakers over the weekend, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who posted to X, formerly known as Twitter: "The terrorist attacks by Hamas against Israel, including against children and civilians, are monstrous and unacceptable. We all join in condemning this assault and praying for the lives lost. The U.S. stands unwaveringly with Israel and supports her right to defend herself. Security in Israel must be swiftly and permanently restored."
A similar message was released by members of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, which includes Bay Area State Sens. Scott Wiener and Josh Becker, who added in part, "We are heartbroken and horrified by the devastating terrorist attacks against Israel. Nothing can justify this brutal and grotesque violence."
Gov. Gavin Newsom, also took to social media on Saturday, calling the attacks "horrific", noting that the victims included "Women, children — innocent people — being targeted with brutal acts of terrorism by Hamas. All on the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. There is simply no justification for this."
On X, San Francisco Mayor London Breed echoed the governor's comments, and added "I stand with our Bay Area Jewish community and all those condemning these terrorist attacks."
The Jewish Community Relations Council thanked the lawmakers for their support on Saturday.
"We feel the support," Gregory told KTVU. "We feel the allied ship right now, and our community feels the love, and we’re grateful for that."
Gregory said similar support has also been flowing in from groups representing different faiths across the Bay Area.
"We’ve gotten some really heartfelt outreach from our Muslim partners around the Bay Area," said Gregory. "Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people. Hamas does not even represent the Palestinians in Gaza. We know that most Palestinians and Israelis are committed to living side by side in peace."
Sunday at 11:30 a.m., the Bay Area’s Jewish community and supporters are expected to come together in San Francisco's Pacific Heights neighborhood, outside of Congregation Sherith Israel at 2266 California St. to call for peace in the wake of the attacks. Pelosi is expected to be among the attendees.