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LEE COUNTY | Faith leaders extend support to Middle East amid war

From flying to Israel for supplies to calling for understanding, a look at the SWFL impact
Posted at 10:16 PM, Oct 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-18 22:16:41-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Two weeks into the conflict in the Middle East, faith leaders in Lee County are extending their support to those affected by the ongoing war. Rabbi Yitzchok Minkowicz of Chabat Lubavich Southwest Florida has announced his plans to travel to Israel, bringing along supplies and a message of unity and support from the region.

While in Israel, Minkowicz plans to personally distribute funds from the Israel Emergency Relief Fund that people have been donating to here, in Southwest Florida.

Rabbi Minkowicz, has been a part of the local community for over two decades. He emphasized the importance of unity in these trying times stating,

"There's no greater power than the power of unity. We're going to show support, bringing a lot of assistance from Southwest Florida."

Minkowicz's mission to Israel is part of a collective effort by a group of Chabad Rabbis who will visit hospitals, military bases, and affected families to distribute monetary aid and provide support to those caught in the midst of this conflict. The Rabbi expressed hope that more visits would not be necessary under these circumstances in the future.

At the Islamic Center in Cape Coral, we spoke with Jerry Moore, who was one of the founders of Masjid Quba Islamic Center when it opened in 2020.

Moore said that the conflict impacts people of the Islamic faith as well, and that their center is serving as a hub of support for local Muslims.

He spoke about the close knit nature of their community,
"We get together regularly, have meals together, talk to each other on the phone. We're here to support each other and the entire community."

As the world watches the Israel-Hamas conflict unfold, both faith leaders talked about the importance of unity, support, and a shared desire for peace.

Law enforcement presence has also increased at both mosques and synagogues in Southwest Florida since the start of the conflict.