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To my friends in Utah's Jewish Community

Dear Friends,

I write to you today amidst the somber backdrop of recent events that have deeply affected us all. On October 7, 2023, a wave of surprise attacks shook the foundations of Israel, initiated by terrorists from the Gaza Strip under the banner of Hamas. These attacks have brought about unspeakable horrors, the kind of atrocities we witness only from the darkest corners of humanity: murder, rape, and kidnappings.

The past few days have been heart-wrenching for Israel and the global Jewish community, including those here in Utah. We grieve for the lives lost, including Lotan Abir, who was tragically taken from us at a music festival for peace. May his memory be a blessing.

I want you to know that I, along with many others, am deeply concerned about the well-being and safety of all those affected by this conflict, particularly the innocent civilians caught in the crossfire.

Utah's Jewish community is esilient, and I've had the privilege of standing alongside you in times of prayer and partnership. I want to reaffirm what I said Saturday, that Israel has my unwavering support and I stand behind the Jewish state in its inherent right to defend itself and potect its citizens. I also commend President Biden for his resolute stance and the decisive action to provide additional support to Israel.

In the days and weeks ahead, we anticipate further hardships, with more sorrow and suffering to come. However, I want to assure you that my determination remains steadfast. Israel is a beacon of democracy in a region marked by turmoil and injustice.

Former Senator, and current President of the University of Florida, Ben Sasse said in a letter to students this week: When evil raises its head, as it has in recent days, it is up to men and women of conscience and courage to draw strength from the truth and commit ourselves to the work of building something better – to the work of pursuing justice and peace. 

I believe those words are very important to remember.

Jerusalem holds a special place in my heart. I vividly remember my time as a nineteen year old, living in the holy city, when the Camp David Accords were signed. I recognized the profound significance of that moment and purchased a copy of the Jerusalem Post bearing the headline "End to 30-Year State of War." It proudly adorns my office to this day, alongside a more recent edition commemorating the Abraham Accords, a testament to the evolving landscape of peace in the Middle East.

As your representative, I have joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers in introducing a resolution that unequivocally declares Congress's solidarity with Israel as it confronts the brutal war instigated by Hamas and other terrorists. 

I acknowledge that within the Jewish community, there are diverse perspectives on Israeli politics and this conflict. The Palestinian people have endured great suffering under the rule of Hamas, a group elected in 2007. For lasting peace, a united effort is needed to remove Hamas from the equation.

I want you to know that my team and I are here to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and provide any assistance within our capacity. Our community is strongest when we stand together, and I am proud to stand with you now.