General News · October 14, 2023

A Response to Terror and War in Israel and Gaza

The horrific terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas against Israeli civilians (women, men, and children) have left the leadership of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian church reeling, weeping, and praying.

In this difficult time, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church wants to be clear about two things:

1) Hamas perpetrated unspeakable evil in their coordinated attacks. There can be no waffling in the face of these brutal acts. We stand with our Jewish sisters and brothers in solidarity, shock and grief. We pray for the safe return of all hostages to their families. We further lament the pain caused by those (in this country and around the world) who have (once again) heartlessly celebrated the murder of Jewish people. Antisemitism is a real thing, and sadly, it continues to rear its head in despicable ways.

2) All Palestinians are not part of Hamas. In threatening to reduce the Gaza Strip to rubble and in cutting off water, power, and supplies, the Israeli response is creating a humanitarian crisis. We lament the situation in Gaza—a relatively small area in which conditions have long been difficult. We stand with our Palestinian brothers and sisters in solidarity, shock, and grief. We do not believe that the deaths of innocents excuse the deaths of more innocents.

In the face of all this bloody violence, and rather than engage in endless non-productive finger pointing and debate, we believe that our Christian faith calls us to side with the innocent, the injured, the frightened, the grieving, and those who feel both hopeless and helpless as the world around them shakes. To that end, we are providing members and friends of our congregation with two avenues for giving financial support to organizations who are aiding the victims and those in harm’s way.

For Israel, we suggest that financial support be given to Magen David Adom. This organization:
- Operates as a “national Red Cross Society” of the State of Israel.
- Is committed to the principles of the Geneva Convention and other international humanitarian conventions.
- Adheres to international humanitarian law designed to ensure the basic rights of the needy and to aid and protect human dignity.

For Gaza, we suggest that financial support be given to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA). This organization:
- Provides humanitarian aid to victims of violence regardless of nationality or religion. 
- Works through organizations on the ground (in this case, Gaza) that have gone through a rigorous scrutiny process.
- Has committed to a solidarity grant for a hospital in Gaza.

Our hearts truly grieve for all of the children of God who pray for peace and who suffer in this terrible conflict. Many believe that we must choose sides in this time. We agree. We choose the side that Jesus surely would have chosen, to stand with the suffering, the hurting and the grieving and with all who are rushing to help the same.