Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon’s statement:
Today we mourn the loss of all the innocent people killed by the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel. Women, children, young people attending a music festival, neighbors defending their homes and communities. Knoxville stands with the people of Israel and their right to defend themselves.
I mourn the death of Ofir Libstein, mayor of the Sha’Ar HaNegev region of Israel. He was murdered while trying to protect his community from the terrorist attack this weekend. Reports are that his family was taken hostage.
Earlier this year I spent an afternoon with Mayor Libstein, as part of a week-long visit to Israel with AJC – American Jewish Committee and United States Conference of Mayors . In the photo above, you can see him pointing to the site of a cross border collaborative for economic growth. Mayor Libstein was a brave and committed advocate for peace and shared opportunity for the people of Israel and the people of Gaza.
We saw a school bus stop in Kibbutz Erez that includes a fortified bomb shelter. All residents were supposed to be within 10 seconds of a bomb shelter at all times. Mayor Libstein said his community was 95% heaven, 5% hell.
Prayers for peace in Israel.
There are many stories online about Mayor Libstein and his work.
Friday was a normal day. My inbox contained the newsletter from the Knoxville Jewish Alliance listing happy events ahead:
- Friday, Oct. 6, JFS Shabbat, Sherrill Hills, Knoxville.
- Wednesdays, Oct. 11-18-25: Coffee with Tara Bain, KJA director of community engagement.
- Thursday, Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m. AJCC Orwitz Room, Memories of Yom Kippur 1973: 50 years after the war.
- Sunday, Oct. 22, 10 a.m., a walking tour of Jewish-owned businesses of Downtown Knoxville. Presented by the KJA Archives Committee. Discover the vibrant history and entrepreneurial spirit of Jewish Knoxville.
- An outreach program for Jewish faculty, staff and students. Call Tara Bain for details, 865-690-6343 x 4 or email.
By Saturday, the world was upside down.
Television coverage of the low-tech attack on Israel by Hamas fighters from the Gaza Strip showed amazing destruction. These guys got past all protective barriers including air defense systems. They came in on air gliders, bicycles, small boats and through tunnels. Find information and videos in this story from The Times of Israel.
Bryan Goldberg, president of the Knoxville Jewish Alliance made clear on social media that “the Jewish communities of North America stand in total and complete solidarity with our Israeli brethren. … There’s an astronomical need for humanitarian support in Israel right now.”
And over on Facebook, Mary Linda Schwarzbart was reposting information from her niece, Michal Robinson, who is rounding up supplies to aid those who lost homes and processions.
The politicians jumped in on Sunday with a letter originated by Sen. Marsha Blackburn and signed by both senators and seven of eight Republican House members. Only David Kustoff of West Tennessee did not sign. He’s one of two Jewish Republicans in the House.
Perhaps he did not like the tone. This letter reads like a press release for Fox News. What do you think? 10.8.23_Letter to President Biden re Attacks on Israel
Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today, Inc.