Local religious leader worries over tensions in Israel

Hopeful that peace can be achieved

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By Daryl Bjoraas

South Bend, IN -- "There is always hope. If we give up hope, we give up being human."

Rabbi Eric Siroka is thousands of miles away from daily bombings hitting Israel, but he still feels compassion for those affected by terrorism.

"Though it's part of our human condition, we have to call it for what it is," Siroka, of Temple Beth-El in South Bend, said. "Bullying, terror, hatred and bigotry need to be stomped out by all people of good will."

Friday -- he held a special prayer service focusing on the conflict affecting Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other Israeli settlements.

"We are all human beings who care deeply about the cause of peace," Siroka said.

Peace that just hasn't been attained.

He fears recent bombings could escalate tensions even further, leading to more military intervention.

"People are going to be harmed, suffer and die in the coming days because of what inevitably is only going to get uglier," Siroka said.

But he's confident terrorsim organizations like Hamas can and will be stopped.

"Our Jewish tradition always encourages us to be hopeful that there will yet be a peaceful outcome," Siroka said. "And that people will be allowed to have good, healthy lives of opportunity."

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