MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama’s only Jewish state lawmaker Rep. Phillip Ensler had planned to travel to Israel Wednesday for a ten-day visit, but plans were postponed after Hamas launched terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians.
He says he feels a sense of relief not being caught in the crossfire but is concerned for those who are.
“Growing up, I always knew that no matter where in the world, whatever happens to Jews, if Jews are kicked out of countries, if Jews are persecuted, that Israel is supposed to be that safe place we can go,” Ensler said. “So now, to have these terrorist attacks on innocent Israelis makes it that much more scary.”
Ensler said it’s hard to describe what it’s like seeing the images on TV and being made public.
“Words cannot capture it. It is that … just heart-wrenching, heinous, disturbing. All of those [words] maybe somewhat come close to describing what the images are of women, children, elderly people being assassinated, being torn out of their homes,” Ensler said.
Ensler is also the executive director of the Jewish Federation of Central Alabama. He says the attacks overseas have shaken congregations here as well as recent bomb threats on synagogues in the state.
“Very on edge is the best way to describe it. There’s some that are very distraught over what’s happening — people who are in tears and can’t get out of bed because they’re so upset,” Ensler said. “There are others who, being around community is an important and helpful way, but certainly on edge, distraught and just hoping that all of this settles down.”
Ensler said he’s glad to see state officials condemn the attacks but also hopes to see more speak out against antisemitism in Alabama.