WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – A White Plains rabbi visiting Israel this week will remain in the country to complete his solidarity mission despite the continuing violence.
A rocket attack Tuesday led the Federal Aviation Administration to stop all flights from the U.S. to Ben Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv for 24 hours.
The rocket landed a few miles from Ben Gurion Airport and caused significant damage to two houses in Yehud, according to the New York Times. Israel's Iron Dome antimissile defense system has intercepted most rockets fired by Hamas at the Tel Aviv area.
The U.S. State Department had already warned Monday against traveling to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza due to recent hostilities, which have escalated to Israel launching a ground offensive against Hamas.
“The security environment remains complex in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, and U.S. citizens need to be aware of the risks of travel to these areas because of the current conflict between Hamas and Israel,” the U.S. State Department travel warning read.
However, Rabbi Gordon Tucker, of White Plains’ Temple Israel Center, still made his trip with the Rabbinical Assembly & Masorti Foundation to visit rabbis and community leaders in the south and visit the graves of the three Yeshiva students who were kidnapped and killed in June.
The Jewish Federation of North American Emergency Fund has prioritized funding to allow them to continue their work in the affected areas, according to the Temple Israel Center.
Gordon will also be meeting with Israeli law makers, pay a shiva call to the family of a lieutenant killed in action Sunday, and visit the Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel’s summer camp.
Tucker is honorary chairman of the Board of the Masorti Foundation and served on the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly from 1982 to 2007.
He is the senior rabbi at Temple Israel Center, where he has served since 1994.
Long-range rockets launched from Gaza since July 8, 2014 have reached many locations in Israel – including Tel Aviv, cities farther north, and throughout the south of the country. Some rockets have reached Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank, including Bethlehem and Hebron. While many rockets have been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, there have been impacts that have caused damage and injury