VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin met Wednesday with Jewish community leaders to discuss the crisis in Israel at the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.
Youngkin has offered his support for Israel in recent days, saying “we stand with Israel on this tragic day … we pray for the victims of these terror attacks and their families.”
His message to the Jewish community?
“We wholeheartedly condemn the barbaric acts that have taken place in Israel,” Youngkin said, adding that “we want to make sure that our Jewish brothers and sisters know that we stand here with them for their safety.
Youngkin, in a private meeting, listened to concerns and fears about the violence overseas.
One of the leaders in Wednesday afternoon’s meeting was Temple Lev Tikvah Rabbi Israel Zoberman, whose parents survived the Holocaust and now has siblings who are taking shelter in Israel.
“Only 80 years after the Holocaust, those Americans who didn’t yet get the message, never again is never again,” Zoberman said.
Zoberman said he felt heard after speaking with Youngkin.
“Coming here and meeting with the governor is very reassuring,” Zoberman said. “We have to trust our elected officials.”
Youngkin detailed heightened security measures across Virginia, and at places of worship. Law enforcement has also received additional training on how to identify and respond to antisemitism.
“I condemn all violence, and I condemn all hate,” Youngkin said.
Flags have been flying at half-staff in Virginia this week after the attacks on Israel by Hamas militants.
More than 1,900 people on both sides of the war have died and is expected to escalate, the Associated Press is reporting.
The UJFT hosted a community gathering Tuesday to show support for Israel.
“My neighbor was kidnapped. She’s either dead or kidnapped by Hamas terrorists. She was a soldier and they attacked her military base. We haven’t spoken to her since Saturday,” said Naomi Friedland, a speaker.
The UJFT issued a statement condemning the assault and recognized “that Israel’s only plausible response is to rightfully pursue a comprehensive aggressive strategy to restore calm to the region and protect her citizens.”
Elected officials, community leaders and religious leaders participated in the program.