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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Jews in Puerto Rico rally for peace and the release of hostages

Demonstrators show their solidarity with the people of Israel during a demonstration at the Capitol in San Juan on Sunday. “We are calling for justice and peace,” said Diego Mendelbaum, director of the Jewish Community Center of Puerto Rico.

By The Star Staff

The Jewish communities in Puerto Rico gathered on Sunday on the south side of the Capitol in San Juan to demonstrate for peace and justice for Israel, a cry that is particularly manifested by the hostages kidnapped by the terrorist group Hamas.

“There is no room for gray areas,” said Diego Mendelbaum, director of the Jewish Community Center of Puerto Rico. “We are calling for justice and peace.”

Archbishop of San Juan Monsignor Roberto Octavio González Nieves participated in the demonstration, pointing out that “peace is never a short or easy path, it is steep and painful.”

“But we must seek that great path that begins with the first step,” he said. “Let us never lose faith. These people of Israel are an example of perseverance. From Puerto Rico we can contribute our mustard seed with prayer and solidarity.”

The leader of the Catholic Church on the island pointed out that anti-Semitism cannot be accommodated “because a Christian cannot be anti-Semitic, because we are brothers.”

The archbishop recalled that his mother taught her nine children that Jews “are our spiritual brothers.” He concluded by asking those present to pray together with Psalm 121. Also participating were Caridad Pierluisi Urrutia, director of the office of Governor Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia, Loíza Mayor Julia Nazario Fuentes, and Secretary of State Omar Marrero Díaz, as well as several pastors, business leaders and citizens of from throughout Puerto Rico.

Prior to the beginning of the messages, Don Jorge Kratsman, an Argentine who has lived for 20 years in Puerto Rico, told the media that one of the families residing in Israel, known to him, is currently missing and it is thought that they may have been kidnapped.

On the south side of the Holocaust Memorial there is also a section commemorating the Lot Massacre, a terrorist act that occurred in Tel Aviv on May 30, 1972. There, three terrorists from the Red Army of Japan, in support of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, opened fire on the civilian population. Seventeen Puerto Ricans who were on a pilgrimage died there. The total toll was 26 dead and 78 injured. One of the witnesses of the massacre, Don Antonio “Tony” Larroy of Bayamón, was at Monday’s event.

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