Cindy Sweet Moskowitz, board chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. visited Israel earlier this month, and left just a few hours before Israeli troops moved into Gaza. Today, she sat down with KERA to talk about what she saw.
The group organized a pro-Israel demonstration Wednesday -- hundreds of people waved U.S. and Israeli flags in front of Dallas City Hall. Gov. Rick Perry argued for Israel’s right to defend itself.
“America cannot negotiate a middle ground when one party seeks the self-destruction of the other," Perry said.
Moskowitz sat down with KERA to talk about what her experiences on the Israeli side of the border. (On Tuesday, we heard from a Richardson woman living in the war-torn territory of Gaza.)
Interview Highlights: Cindy Sweet Moskowitz...
...on what she saw and heard during recent trip to Israel:
“Actually, this mission was intended to tell the story of where our dollars go, and it happened that the violence broke out. I’ve been to Israel many times, and this time was different. There is a palpable tension. There are constant sounds. We’ve all heard tornado sirens ... like if that happened 150 times over the area the size of North Texas in a day.”
...on how the violence affected her trip:
“We were limited in where we could go. For example, we were supposed to go and visit a center for independent living, and visit a woman who had just been in Dallas, speaking at a Federation event, and so she came to speak to us instead, at our hotel, and the alarm went off. And she was calming everyone, reminding us of where the safe room was, on the floor of the hotel, and we got there, and she couldn’t get over the lip of the door in the wheelchair. And there we were. Another time I was in a building where an alarm went off and we went to the safe room, two people came in. ... It was an older woman … her daughter was rubbing her back … the woman was a Holocaust survivor. She just couldn’t handle the sounds.”
...on meeting one of the families of the Israeli teens killed last month:
“The parents of one of the teens spoke to us. The family we spoke to had had Palestinians come to pay a condolence call in their home. They pray for peace. They pray that the Palestinian people will have leadership who represent them and who will do anything for their safety and security, who will not encourage their people to come back to places they’ve been warned away from.”
...on family living in Israel:
“My sister and brother-in-law have four children. Two have served in the Israeli Defense Forces; two have not yet. What does it mean to send your 19- and 20- and 21-year-old to face human shields. It’s impossible to imagine -- they're sweet, fun, strong, physical boys. She’s trying to plan a wedding for her oldest son and they’re waiting with bated breath to hear if he’ll be called up for reserves. What it means is that I can’t be positive that they’re safe and sound.”
...on what the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas is doing:
“Our focus is on an emergency campaign, which is called Stop the Sirens. It’s part of our national system, and through our overseas partners, we seek to provide relief in this emergency, to help people rebuild businesses that have been destroyed, to compensate for missed wages, to provide respite, particularly for children. Children are supposed to be in camps right now, not hanging around a house, waiting to go into a safe room. The dollars will be infused into the economy to rebuild at this time.”