OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas returned to Washington D.C. from Israel on Monday. He led a bipartisan trip to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu, as well as the defense minister and families of hostages being held by Hamas.
“They are worried that the news cycle changes so rapidly in today’s world and that this catastrophe, this tragedy that they are living with, will soon be forgotten,” said Moran.
After seeing the tragedy of war firsthand, Moran has two clear objectives: quickly approve military assistance and continue upholding the Biden administration to enforce sanctions against Iran.
“We thought we were immune from the terrorist kind of circumstance — we were not then and we are not now,” said Moran. “I serve on the senate committee on intelligence, in which I receive classified briefings on a multi-day basis every week, and the world, in many ways, is more dangerous every day and the United States is not immune.”
The senator also spoke about the innocent lives lost in Gaza. He says during his visit, Israel committed to him that they would do everything they can to protect innocent Palestinian lives.
“They are offering, and are providing food and medicine and water to the Palestinians. They have provided and are planning increasing the time frame in which there is a pause and a path for those who want to leave the northern part of Gaza to escape the violence,” Moran said. “But the challenge they face is that in so many instances, Hamas is side by side, with, next to, underneath, around, surrounding themselves with the Palestinians. So as you take on Hamas, they are using those Palestinian innocence as shields.”
A local Israeli, Zohar Flacks, says that is where conversations need to begin: A clear separation of Palestinians from the terror group Hamas. She believes it has led to so much misunderstanding and misinformation.
“I really urge people to learn and study and understand what they are talking about before making assessments, before making claims, before supporting either side, because if you are uneducated, then you are not helping any of us,” said Flacks. “Nothing about this is simple, and making ignorant comments is hurtful to both sides.”
Flacks was born and raised in Israel. She moved to the United States when she was 22 years old, leaving behind the rest of her family members. She is now married to a Kansas City local and has three children.
“I need to think of where I’m taking my kids, and what kind of clothing to have on them and if they have Jewish star and if they have Hebrew on them — those are not thoughts I should have,” said Flacks. “The brutality of the attack is something that I don’t think any human being can fathom and really grasp and grapple. So first, I was in shock, and now, heartbroken and hurting and worrying.”
Flacks has been teaching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for many years, but as her students witness history firsthand, she says honesty is how you meet the moment.
“How do you read the media right now, especially when your media is Tiktok and Snapchat, and you don’t know the credibility of what it is that they are reading?” said Flacks. “And sometimes, I have to be honest and say, 'I don’t know, I'm not the only expert, I don’t know everything.' And its okay to not know and to let some questions simmer.”
As world leaders and people near the issue debate how to move forward, Moran says it is in America's best interest to support Israel.
“Much of the world is unable or unwilling to act in the absence of the United States’ leadership,” said Moran. “It’s in our own interest, not just in the interest of Israel or a foreign country, to be helpful to those — we need allies in today’s world. It is very dangerous.”
The senator also says there are talks of a longer cease fire, in which some women and children being held hostage by the terror group Hamas would be released.