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FORT MYERS | How Local Communities are Reacting to the War in Israel

Posted at 8:19 PM, Oct 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-10 20:19:27-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — As tensions in the Middle East rise, Fox 4 spoke with a man currently in Israel, who said he’s about to be called into the reserves to fight for his country.

"My friends are there, and people that I was with. And obviously, things that I hear and have sent to me... It was an unprecedented attack," he said, his face reflecting the strain of the situation.

The man, though willing to share his thoughts, did not want to be named. At the time of the interview, he was heading to a funeral — a harsh reminder of the realities of the ongoing conflict.

"I use the stories and the strength of the people that are not with us now to keep going and to finish it for them,” he expressed solemnly.

But not everyone agrees with this approach. The Florida Palestine Network (FPN) believes such rhetoric of 'finishing the fight' doesn’t help get either side closer to peace.

“It is Israel’s occupation, apartheid policies, and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people over 75 years that is the source of all violence,” FPN said.

The man in Israel explained, “Everyone’s looking at the answer of ‘more hate breeds more hate' and, you know, there are people on both sides. As a human I of course sympathize with innocent people. But we’re not in a situation where we get to have that fortunate choice right now… we’re at war.”

That war’s effects being felt by people like Rabbi Yitzchok Minkowicz, the director of Chabad Lubavitch, right here in Fort Myers. He commented, “It’s very, very tough. In the community, we have other people that have family and friends that are there that were either killed, or hurt, or they don’t know where they are.

Rabbi Minkowicz said he’s been doing his best to support the people in this area whose families are being affected by the war. He emphasized the need for people to come together during a crisis like this, stating, "It’s a time that we have to unite. Unite on one front that we want to live a peaceful life; we want to live a happy life. We want to live a Godly life. And we only want good and great things to happen."

To close the interview, the man in Israel said the uncertainty the region faces could serve as a catalyst for change. He shared, "This is a moment in history that will not be forgotten, and the reactions will not be forgotten."

As the war in Israel continues to unfold, the people we spoke to say they’re holding on to the hope that the conflict will come to an end quickly.