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Sunday, April 20, 2014
Tensions in Syria concern Five Towners
Courtesy NPR
Bodies of victims from what is widely believed to be a poison gas attack carried out by the Syrian government.

Nassau County Police Officer James Imperiale said though there are no terrorist threats in Nassau County, all units are on patrol amid tensions in Syria.

As of press time, President Barack Obama won support from leaders of both parties in the House of Representatives to authorize the use of military force against Syria in order to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction.

The Obama administration’s decision to use military force comes after the Aug. 21 chemical attack in which Bashar al-Assad’s regime used poison gas to kill at least 1,429 people, including 426 children.

Lawrence Mayor Martin Oliner said as an American, he is concerned that the country’s credibility will be lost by inaction. “As with previous presidents, President Obama is thinking ahead by going before Congress,” Oliner said. “I’m concerned about our country’s credibility as it’s an extremely complex conflict.”

Security to the countries bordering Syria, including Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Israel, is also important. Fran Hirmes, a Woodsburgh resident and president of Emunah of America, Israel’s largest women’s Zionist organization that responds to the needs of the people in Israel, said there are clearly substantial reasons to be concerned about the tensions with Syria. “The people in Israel have faced acts of terror and war, sadly, since the birth of the Jewish state,” she said. “Israelis are always in a state of preparedness and this situation is no different.”

Emunah maintains 135 day-care and after school centers throughout Israel and Hirmes said the organization is preparing its own “soldiers” – caregivers in children’s homes, day care centers and counseling centers. “Our security drills, safe rooms and necessary equipment are in place,” she said. “And we’re ready to help our citizens in our crisis centers with whatever they may need. Israel is ready and so is Emunah.”

Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum of Temple Israel in Lawrence said the High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 4 to 6) and Yom Kippur (Sept. 13 to 14), would serve as a time for prayer. “True strength lies in the strength, hope and resolve we receive from God and each other,” he said. “We are unafraid and committed to the survival of the state of Israel and Jewish survival around the world.”

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