In the wake of Saturday’s slaughter of mostly Israeli civilians by the terrorist group Hamas, Sault Mayor Matthew Shoemaker addressed the issue at the start of city council’s regular meeting Tuesday night. More than 1,000 Israelis lost their lives in the surprise onslaught.
“The attack on Israel was an unprovoked act of terrorism committed by Hamas that targeted innocent civilians at the turn of the Hebrew calendar, which is supposed to be a time of celebration and renewal for Jews globally, said Shoemaker. “While it may seem far from us locally, this unprovoked act of war
has had a profound impact on the Jewish communities across the world, included our own Jewish community.”
Shoemaker met with local Jewish leaders and the Police Chief over the weekend to convey the support of all of the city of Sault Ste. Marie.
Sault police has increased patrols at the local Beth Jacob synagogue. The Israeli flag is flying outside of the civic centre as a demonstration of the city’s support for Israel.
“I want to make it clear that the City stands in complete solidarity with the local Jewish community,” said Shoemaker. Jeff Arbus thanked council for their support and called the raising of the Israeli flag “intensely moving and appreciated.”
Arbus said members of the Jewish community worldwide and locally will be feeling despondent. He said they’ll also be grieving and fearful, as history has shown there is a surge of anti-Semitic acts after major terrorist acts against Israelis in the Middle East.
“We are seeing dramatic spikes already in the UK and in European countries and in some parts of Ontario,” said Arbus. “The rallies that you are seeing that are being called pro-Palestinian are in fact celebratory rallies for the terrorism that Hamas perpetrated on civilians on Saturday.” Arbus said there should be talks toward Palestinian self-determination and he’s “all-in” for having those discussions but said the condemnation of terrorism stands on its own.
He said Saturday’s onslaught resulted in “the largest loss of civilian Jewish life since the Holocaust,” adding he has seen videos, including those of Israeli authorities identifying victims.
“I won’t go into graphic detail, I have seen the videos with victims identified by Israeli authorities. They are too horrific to mention, let alone view, Arbus said. Attacks on civilians “drives a wedge” into hopes for a two-state settlement and the establishment of a Palestinian state. He said Hamas’ goal is to take over the
region. “We are hoping anti-Semitic incidents do not happen here,” said Arbus. “We’re hoping for peace in the region but we know it’s likely to get worse before it gets better.”
Hope’s Cradle may be coming to the Sault
A sanctuary for infants facing abandonment may be coming to Sault Ste. Marie. City Council last night unanimously approved a motion from Ward 3 Coun. Angela Caputo and seconded by Ward 2 Coun. Lisa Vezeau-Allen to direct staff to work with various agencies and report back with a recommendation to
establish a Hope’s Cradle in a central location of the city.
Caputo told council she has researched the issue of infant abandonment the last several months. She said babies are commonly left in dumpsters, snow banks, alleys and places “even worse than you can imagine.”
Some infants are never known or discovered, said Caputo. “These babies that are born we have a responsibility to them,” she added. “We have a responsibility to those folks who have carried them, regardless of any why’s or how’s that pop into our brains. The only thing that should really count is
the preservation of these lives.”
Hope’s Cradle originated in Calgary a couple of years ago. It provides an environment for a mother to safely and anonymously surrender their baby to child service professionals. Installing the service would cost approximately $20,000.
It’s a “no questions asked” surrender, said Caputo. “It’s a safe alternative to an unsafe abandonment, and that’s it. That’s where the conversations should end. Provided there are no signs that the baby shows no sign of physical harm, there are zero repercussions for the person who chose this very safe option,” said
Ward 1 Coun. Sonny Spina said the report coming back from staff will be extremely important. He said he recently spoke to a couple of ocal child protection professionals laws and procedures for adoption are changing. Spina urged staff to talk to a broad range of professionals and government officials “as many people as possible. We have to get it right, and we have to get it right the first time.”