Hamas’ slaughter of innocent Israeli citizens and Jews is enough evil for a lifetime, but pro-Hamas protests in Iowa have the local Jewish population noticeably concerned, saddened and sick. As state and city leaders rally around our Jewish friends and neighbors, now’s the time to stand up, and speak against this evil, says Jarad Bernstein, Executive Director of The Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines.
Bernstein is a long-standing figure in the Des Moines community, and emphasized the “barbarity” and “heroism” manifesting in the ongoing crisis. He reported sobering statistics: over 1,300 Israelis killed, including 220 soldiers and 22 U.S. citizens, and more than 3,300 wounded due to over 6,000 rockets fired from Gaza.
Bernstein criticized Hamas for its “disgusting, barbaric” targeting of civilians and its use of human shields. The known terrorist organization is also known to place munitions and military installation underneath hospitals and next to schools, knowing the Israel Defense Force (IDF) tries to avoid such targets.
The discussion focused on the amount of effort the IDF takes, to avoid hurting innocent civilians, including sending warnings ahead of time. And how Hamas tells civilians to stay put to use them as human shields.
He lauded the effectiveness of Israel’s Iron Dome, a defense system developed with U.S. assistance, in mitigating rocket attacks aimed at civilian areas. He was quick to note many Palestinians are opposed to Hamas evil actions, but expressed concern about the absence of their voices in this time and explained the need for people to understand the “absolute barbarity” to fully grasp Israel’s response.
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Iowa Pro-Hamas Protestors
The interview also focused on the pro-Hamas protestors in Iowa and the USA. A small faction of US Citizens are actually opposing U.S. funding of Israel as they defend themselves from Hamas. Bernstein found these protests alarming, not just for their stance against Israel but for what he perceives as underlying anti-Jewish sentiment. His comments come at a time when the U.S.-Israel relationship is generally bipartisan, a sentiment that has traditionally been reflected in Iowa’s political landscape.
Bernstein’s remarks serve as a localized call to action for Iowans. He urges the community to be informed and engaged on this international issue, given its resonance in Iowa, a state with historical and friendly ties to Israel. His interview serves as a critical lens through which Iowans can view the Israel-Hamas conflict, urging them to consider not just the international but also the local implications of this far-reaching crisis.
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Justin Brady: From the Brady Dental Care Studio, I’m Justin Brady. And today I’m joined with Jared Bernstein, the executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines. Jared, I’ve known you for a while and thank you so much for coming into the studio because, uh, I have no doubt this is an extremely difficult time for you.
Justin Brady: So thank you so much for
Jarad Bernstein: being here. Thank you for having me on. And yes, we, we’ve known each other for many years back to the days [00:01:00] of where bloggers used to get together on, uh, at Panera in West Des Moines. Uh, and we’re, we’re both doing different things now, but, but still very, very connected and important ways.
Jarad Bernstein: What were we doing
Justin Brady: back? I was doing like a, like, I don’t even know what I was doing. I was doing design stuff back then. What were you up to? This was before you were the marketing guy at Drake. Yeah, it was that
Jarad Bernstein: whole realty. Oh, yes.
Justin Brady: Yes, you were marketing
Jarad Bernstein: over there, right? Yeah, public relations. Oh my gosh.
Jarad Bernstein: Those fun times. But yeah, we both moved on. I spent a dozen years at Drake and now I got to lead the amazing organization called Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines. Yeah.
Justin Brady: So obviously we don’t need to even set the stage on why we’re talking about this because of the atrocities in Israel and around the world, which is.
Justin Brady: Even I would dare I say more disturbing. Maybe you have a different take on that, but you certainly expect evil people to do evil things. You expect, um, shocking news and people to do. But then what you don’t expect is in your own community with people endorsing that activity. I think That’s a little shocking.
Justin Brady: So we’re going to get into that today. [00:02:00] Really brief reminder, everybody. We work very hard here to get you current information and to bring you Iowans that are bringing you that information. Like it’s, you know, we work pretty hard on that. So if you hear something today that you think someone else needs to hear, and I mean, just looking at the news, I can see it.
Justin Brady: A couple thousand people that need to hear this, please share this show. It’s very easy to share. Just search for the Iowa podcast on Apple, Spotify, I heart. It’s everywhere. It is literally everywhere. So make sure to share it. So Jared, again, thank you for being in here. I think the best thing to start is what’s the current status.
Justin Brady: Obviously, uh, Hamas, uh, was this last week now, Saturday morning. Yeah. Attacked Israel. Um, killing thousands of civilians, um, not in a military attack, just killing, um, families, women and children, civilians, as many as they possibly could, as fast as they possibly could invading Israel. What’s the current.[00:03:00]
Jarad Bernstein: Yeah. So, uh, first we, we have a half hour here, which is both a good amount of time and not nearly enough time to encapsulate all that
Justin Brady: is going on. And we might go additional
Jarad Bernstein: if I need to, the number of stories of just immense suffering of barbarity. Yeah. But also of hope and heroism that are coming out right now are incredible.
Jarad Bernstein: So as of this morning, uh, more than 1300 Israelis have been killed, including, uh, at least 220 soldiers, 22 U. S. citizens, uh, and over 3300 wounded, um, that’s as a result of the attacks that, that you mentioned. Whi, which include more than 6,000, 6,000 rockets that have been fired from mainly civilian areas in, in the Gaza Strip toward civilian areas in Israel.
Jarad Bernstein: Uh, the, the enemy here, Hamas, [00:04:00] uh, is specifically targeting civilians in incredibly disgusting, barbaric ways. There’s no other way to describe it. And the problem with. What’s going on now in the war that has started as a result, Israel must remove Hamas, must take care of the situation. Um, but Hamas is so cynical hiding amongst civilians, uh, you may have seen the news last night where Israel is trying to, has issued a warning to those in Northern Gaza Strip where over a million people live, uh, to, to leave the area, to, to go south in the Gaza Strip so that the military can come in and clear out Hamas Hamas in response is telling.
Jarad Bernstein: The people in Gaza don’t move, right? Don’t move because they want them there as human shields.
Justin Brady: Disgusting. And they want the PR. They want the optics. Exactly. They want to show that. Look at what Israel did. They don’t care
Jarad Bernstein: about their people. Yeah.
Justin Brady: It’s period. And they, what’s, what’s, what’s [00:05:00] incredible about this.
Justin Brady: The, because I’ve been digging into this for the last week, trying to do proper research because I don’t want to sound like an idiot and, you know, have information that’s incorrect. What’s incredible is that the, the lengths Israel has gone to, to preserve innocent life, you hear the opposite. Uh, some of these whack job protesters, um, But the, they, they have been calling cell phones.
Justin Brady: They’ve been using every piece of tech. They know they drop little mini bombs. I’ve heard like little mini vibration bombs on buildings to alert civilians. Hey, we’re going to hit this place. You got to get out. They have all these methods to try to get the information out. And like you said, despite all these methods, Hamas says, no, no, no.
Justin Brady: You got to stay there. You got to stay there because they want, they don’t care about their own people, which is insane. I don’t think that’s not being reported.
Jarad Bernstein: Absolutely. Absolutely. And you know, not everyone, uh, not every Palestinian supports Hamas, right? A significant number do. And we, we need to hear more voices from [00:06:00] Palestinians who are opposed to this.
Jarad Bernstein: Right. Frankly, I’m not hearing them
Justin Brady: right now. I’m not either. Yeah. It’s scary. It’s scary. Um, so the, uh, just like the iron dome alone. Like exists because it is like, just think about it for five seconds. People, the Iron Dome. For those that don’t know, maybe you should describe what the Iron Dome is since, I mean, I kind of know what it is from a technological standpoint, but you have a more personal relationship with with that
Jarad Bernstein: device.
Jarad Bernstein: Yeah. Well, uh, the Iron Dome was developed, uh, thanks to assistance from the United States, in fact. Mm-hmm. , uh, the US is, uh, Uh, has funded this, uh, defensive, uh, system in which when, uh, short range and medium range, uh, rockets are fired at Israel, Israel is able to, it’s almost like the, uh, a modern version of the Patriot missile, if you remember from the first Gulf war, where it will intercept the, the rockets coming down.
Jarad Bernstein: So that they don’t hit the building so that they don’t hit people. And it’s [00:07:00] very effective. It’s not a hundred percent effective. And even when it is effective, shrapnel rains down and can cause injuries, but not nearly the amount of devastation that would happen if 6, 000 rockets were to hit. Uh, a
Justin Brady: residential area.
Justin Brady: How often do they do this? It seems like, I don’t know the frequency, but it seems like all the time the air sirens go off in Israel because Hamas has launched more random rockets at civilian areas. It happened. It seems like it happens very frequently that like if you’re reading the news. Uh, a lot of Israelis even have safe rooms, like a lot of them have safe rooms because this is just a normal thing
Jarad Bernstein: of life for them.
Jarad Bernstein: There are safe rooms everywhere. That’s true, uh, to protect against, uh, these attacks. Uh, recently, um, the, uh, just over overnight there, there was a lull. Uh, and the rocket fire, uh, and there’s a little bit of a debate in the intelligent intelligence community right now. Is that because, [00:08:00] uh, Israel’s response, uh, in Gaza is being successful, uh, or is it Hamas is trying to kind of hold back and reserve their, their, uh, artillery, their, their inventory of these rockets.
Jarad Bernstein: So that that’s to be determined, but I do want to say something about those, uh, those safe rooms. Uh, there’s not just evidence there. There are reports on American cable networks. After the initial attacks, the, the safe rooms exist outdoors too, for instance, at bus stops or in communities so that you can, so that you can hide from rockets coming in the there.
Jarad Bernstein: Um, there were a number of incidents where people went to hide in these shelters, Hamas terrorists came in, went specifically to these shelters and went inside and shot them up and threw grenades inside to kill the people hiding in there. Yeah. Disgusting tactics. Right. You know, it’s, it’s one thing to target [00:09:00] civilians, which is bad enough, right?
Jarad Bernstein: It’s another to, to do the kinds of things. To these civilians that you just, it’s so, so hard to, to hear the reports and see the evidence of what
Justin Brady: they’ve been doing. It violates, um, war, it sounds weird, but it violates, I think it’s the Geneva convention, right? It’s like, Hey, if you’re, if you’re going to combat another, uh, another army.
Justin Brady: Which, uh, Hamas is a terrorist organization, but if you’re going to, you know, you have to wear proper things. You can’t target civilians. You can’t hide behind human shields. You can’t put your artillery near hospitals and like schools and mosques, right? But that’s exactly what Hamas does. That’s where they hide.
Justin Brady: That’s where they hide their military. That is exactly what they do. And so it’s, there’s like, you look at it from an Israel perspective and it’s like, if you’re firing rockets all the time and [00:10:00] we, we can essentially are relegated and, um, minimize to the fact that we can only defend by shooting other rockets to intercept these rockets, we have safe rooms to hide in and we can’t even attack where these rocket positions are because Hamas intentionally puts them Um, next to schools, next to mosques and next to like hospitals, am I, am I, am I wrong in saying this?
Justin Brady: Oh,
Jarad Bernstein: you’re, you’re absolutely right. Let, let me, uh, bring this back home for, for a minute with a protest that we saw in Des Moines the other night that was, uh, specifically against, uh, one of the things they were talking about was end funding of, uh, U S funding of Israel. Yeah. The military. Funding of Israel.
Jarad Bernstein: It’s money that gets spent with American companies on defense, including the Iron Dome system, right? So these people who are protesting against Israel are saying no Israel You should not have these defensive weapons are you are there only meant to defend [00:11:00] against rocket attacks, right? They’re not an offensive weapon at
Justin Brady: all.
Justin Brady: Yeah Yeah, it’s, it’s wild to me. I can, I can some, I don’t know the full state of the Palestinian Israel conflict, right? It’s not crazy to me to understand why a certain people group would want freedom or something like that. Not crazy. What is crazy? Is to see the justification of killing innocent people.
Justin Brady: And I don’t want to be too graphic everyone for listening, but I am going to say something that’s a little graphic that if you have kids, you should probably cover your ears or cover their ears. But I’ll give you just a second to pause this. But what is graphic is burning people alive in their houses.
Justin Brady: Families, unarmed families, civilians and chopping infants, heads off like that. I, I don’t understand on what, in what, on what planet that’s acceptable. And
Jarad Bernstein: as a result, you can [00:12:00] understand why Israel is taking the actions is right now. To once and for all, get
Justin Brady: rid of Hamas. They don’t have another choice.
Justin Brady: There is no other choice. Uh, but despite this, I’m going to, you’re probably very aware of this more than I am, but there have been pro Hamas protests. These are not Palestinian like, um, freedom protests because of some of the language people are using. Their speakers are using their. Um, one in Philly. I think this is Philly.
Justin Brady: I don’t know where all these are. Frankly, I don’t care, but applause for Hamas for a job. Well done. Let’s give applause when they woke up in the morning, he’s talking, talking about Israelis and the Jewish people when they woke up in the morning and they found the field hands in the house with a knife ready to cut their effing throats.
Justin Brady: I smiled. And then another quote, every from, uh, another protester, every person that died yesterday was not innocent. Um, this is. And even if you look at Hamas is like, uh, they have documentation of their structure, which is kind of weird to [00:13:00] me, but they actually put in there that one of their objectives is to kill off and end Jewish people.
Justin Brady: Yeah.
Jarad Bernstein: Not, not just
Justin Brady: Israel Jews. Yeah. It’s, and, and this, where’s the, where at these protests, where’s the outcry for that?
Jarad Bernstein: Let me tell you why so much news coming in so many terrible stories. Uh, but on this point of protest, I saw images last night of a protest in Washington DC. Where was it? Was it the Israeli consulate is outside the Jewish Museum in Washington DC.
Jarad Bernstein: It’s insane They’re not targeting Israel that they’re not upset with this. Of course, they’re upset with Israel. They’re upset with Jews They want to kill Jews right period. Why else would you be protesting outside the Jewish Museum, right? And a story yeah,
Justin Brady: and these are
Jarad Bernstein: Americans. Yeah, thank God. It’s a small percentage of Americans
Justin Brady: Yeah, it is Thanks for that distinction, because it is a small percentage of nuts, um, and, and evil people, uh, [00:14:00] evil is, is definitely real.
Jarad Bernstein: We’ve always talked about the, uh, bipartisan nature of the U. S. Israel relationship. Uh, Israel, America, uh, being linked hand in hand, uh, a bond like, like no other. Uh, in so many ways from economic, cultural ties, um, uh, anything you, you can think of, but to, to hear, um, you know, uh, with very few exceptions, everyone in our, uh, in the highest echelons of the U S government speak out, not just in support of the Israeli people, but forcefully.
Jarad Bernstein: Looking at all the words that President Biden has said since Saturday, looking at all the words that the Republican presidential candidates have said, looking at all the words that almost every member of Congress has said, the, the, the status of the U. S. Israel relationship. [00:15:00]
Justin Brady: Yeah. And we’re going to talk about that, um, because Iowa is actually a very good friend to Israel, which is interesting.
Justin Brady: You shared some great factoids. Um, but I want to be very clear with people, um, like there, there was. There is an interest there. Well, there are a few things. First of all, is this essentially Holocaust 2. 0 denial that we’re seeing form already? Because I’m starting to see narratives form like Hamas isn’t actually doing this.
Justin Brady: This is all fake. Now, keep in mind, Hamas shared these images themselves. These were not shared by the IDF. The reason we have some of these videos are of insane things that a lot of social media companies are trying to take down because of the graphic nature. The reason we have this Is because Hamas shared it and we’re still seeing people say, no, it’s all fake.
Justin Brady: This doesn’t. Are we seeing Holocaust 2. 0 deniers
Jarad Bernstein: right now? We are seeing revisionist history being made live and I don’t know what. [00:16:00] More can be shown. What more can be said? Listen to the survivor stories. Yeah. Listen to the stories of people who went into to rescue. These firsthand accounts are very real, very sobering.
Jarad Bernstein: And we need to listen. You cannot turn your head away. Right? Without understanding the absolute barbarity of the situation, you won’t understand the
Justin Brady: response from Israel. And there is something interesting you shared with me ahead of time. Um, it’s, it’s absolutely, I think, I think there is something in all of our heads that says eventually society gets to a point where being barbaric and acting like an animal is a thing of the past.
Justin Brady: Right. I think we look at the Nazi regime. I think we look at like, uh, [00:17:00] uh, Stalin. I think we look at Mao. And I think we, we in some ways say we have evolved enough as a human race. We are sophisticated enough and connected enough and caring enough where we don’t do those things anymore. But that is absolutely not true.
Justin Brady: Clearly, you need to daily fight evil in this world, otherwise evil takes over. You shared this with me, which is even more chilling to what you were saying earlier. This is definitely anti Israel, but this is, um, Many want to eradicate the Jewish people. There’s no bones about it. There’s no debate here. Uh, Hamas, these groups themselves are saying this with their own lips.
Justin Brady: Um, but you mentioned that there, there’s this anti Jewish sentiment talking about, uh, 75 year occupation. That’s as you pointed out correctly. That’s 1948. What’s wrong with this? This statement, something is severely disturbing about
Jarad Bernstein: [00:18:00] this. Yes. Uh, when you hear people say that, uh, Israel has been oppressing and occupying Palestinian people for 75 years to 1948, that’s the That’s the year that Israel is a modern state was founded.
Jarad Bernstein: That statement right there is saying Israel should not exist. Yeah. Period. Yeah. There’s no negotiation
Justin Brady: from that point. Right. We, we used to hear in modern, that’s modern state by the way. So clarify that for some people because that’s not even borders that’s recognizing Israel to exist.
Jarad Bernstein: Absolutely. Uh, based on, uh, you know, the, the UN.
Jarad Bernstein: Uh, voted to, uh, birth Israel into existence, uh, uh, the British left Israel declared statehood, uh, along the, the, uh, borders, uh, that the UN, um, uh, had set out and immediately Uh, Arab armies from five surrounding countries attacked, right? And then borders were formed [00:19:00] after, after that war of independence.
Jarad Bernstein: Yeah. So
Justin Brady: it’s, yeah, like I said, all is, it’s essentially that chant, that sentiment. And correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s basically a strong indication that they want the Jewish people to end, correct?
Jarad Bernstein: or to at least not exist in that part of the world. And that’s, that’s our home. You know, uh, The Jewish people are indigenous to Israel, right?
Jarad Bernstein: You know, Israel as a modern history, that’s not Israel as a modern state may have been founded in 1948, but for 3000 years, we’ve been praying toward Jerusalem, right? You know, the, the, you were kicked outta Jerusalem . There, there’s been, uh, history o over thousands of years. Right. Um, but, but, um, uh, that, that land, the, that Holy land has, [00:20:00] has never been, uh, has always been part of, uh, of the Jewish, uh, spirit of, of Jewish mind.
Jarad Bernstein: Uh, and it was modern miracle in 1948. That, that once again, after. Uh, nearly 2000 years, uh, uh, we controlled our own destiny in that space.
Justin Brady: Yeah. So talk about the Iowa response, uh, your friends response. Um, I think when things like this happen, it’s so jarring and shocking to people, uh, and hard to believe, not in a sense that they don’t believe it, but just hard to believe this could happen in this day and age.
Justin Brady: They don’t know how to respond. They don’t know what. To say, so, uh, we’ll talk about the Iowa response. We’ll talk about the Iowa relationship. But what can people do? Are, are they supposed to reach out? Should they stay silent? What can to their, to their Jewish friends, to, to their Israeli friends? What are people supposed to do?
Justin Brady: What is the best practice
Jarad Bernstein: there? Yeah. Uh, do not stay silent. Do not stay [00:21:00] silent. Reach out to your friends. Check in on them. Tell them that you’re paying attention and that you care. Mm-hmm. . And that you are there to, to support that. That means so much. So that’s one thing you can and should do. Okay. Step two is paying attention.
Jarad Bernstein: Do, do not, do not turn your head away from the news. Okay. You don’t have to look at every single image that comes out. I think you might go nuts if you did. Um, yeah, but you have to have a full understanding of what’s going on in, uh, right now. to, to get the context of what will be happening. Three, if you, if you want to support on the ground, the, there are direct ways that, that you can help the victims, that you can help rebuild, uh, that, uh, that we are, uh, as a Jewish federation as Jewish federation system are raising money for.
Jarad Bernstein: Uh, yesterday it was announced that [00:22:00] Jewish federations of North America, of which, of which we are a part. There are about 140 of us around the country, um, have a goal of 500 million to raise. Uh, speaking with a co chair of that campaign said, we know that 500 million won’t be enough. But it’s a start. Uh, our federation in Des Moines from our Jewish community, uh, anyone can donate and we will seek donations from outside the Jewish community.
Jarad Bernstein: But the response, uh, from at least this perspective, uh, what has been heartening, it’s been quick. And as of right now, we’ve already raised more than 400,
Justin Brady: 000. Good. And is that locally or? Locally? Yes. Locally, 404,000. Excellent. Uh, and I’ll make sure to, we’re gonna hit that at the end here too, to get the, get the website in there and everything like that.
Justin Brady: Um, so currently, um, just in, in the metro where the studio is, um, women of Achievement Bridge downtown has been lit blue for [00:23:00] Israel. Um, the Polk County, it will, Polk County Courthouse will be lighting up blue to support Israel. Uh, these are things you shared with me, obviously, uh, Polk County and West Des Moines.
Justin Brady: We’ll soon pass resolutions in support of Israel and, uh, the other announcement is the repairs to the Holocaust Memorial. Now, this has been out of commission for months. Um, we’ll be done here, uh, is it next week, Wednesday? Yeah. So,
Jarad Bernstein: um, uh, we are in the, uh, Brady Dental Care Studio in the East Village, walking distance.
Jarad Bernstein: Yeah, it’s true. We can walk there. Yeah. Walking distance from the Capitol, the West Terrace, uh, where 10 years ago. Uh, almost to the date 10 years ago, we dedicated a Holocaust memorial that serves three purposes to, uh, memorialize those who were murdered in the Holocaust, uh, to honor those survivors who made their home in Iowa after the war, uh, and to honor.
Jarad Bernstein: Those Iowans who liberated concentration camps, [00:24:00] it’s my understanding that, uh, on a per capita basis, there are more Iowans in that, uh, position who liberated camps, uh, than any other state, uh, Iowa, whether it being what it is, uh, the, there was, um, The memorial itself wasn’t holding up so well, uh, and the state allocated a hundred thousand dollars, uh, last session for repairs.
Jarad Bernstein: Uh, those repairs have been completed. The installation is just about complete and, uh, next week on, uh, Wednesday, uh, we will be rededicating that, that important space, um, uh, with, with Governor Reynolds in attendance and speaking.
Justin Brady: What I knew, I think it’s New York City today, um, has mandated, I don’t know exactly the terminology in law enforcement, but they’ve mandated all active officers to be present today and on duty [00:25:00] for, again, I don’t know who’s calling for this. I think it’s the, a leader in Iran may be calling for this, but for a day of Jihad he all around the world.
Justin Brady: And so. Uh, again, it’s, it’s one thing to have some conflict in another country and we’re speaking generally that, you know, is, is, is atrocious, but you’re kind of removed from, it’s quite another for that to be in our own backyard as it was a few days ago with that protest in Cole’s commons.
Justin Brady: Um, is there fear in, I mean, obviously for the Jewish people, I don’t mean to be crass. We were talking about this earlier, but this is not your first rodeo. This has been your history for thousands of years. But is there fear even locally of being targeted because I can’t imagine what it’s like just to walk around.
Justin Brady: And be a target. I don’t know what it’s like to live [00:26:00] that way. Is there fear? Um, in, in, even here in, in, in Iowa, uh,
Jarad Bernstein: security is something that we as a Jewish community in Iowa take very seriously. Yeah. Period. Um, there’s at our facility, uh, in Waukee, there’s all kinds of measures in place, both visible and not so visible.
Jarad Bernstein: Uh, we have support of local law enforcement, state law enforcement, uh, national security apparatus. Uh, it’s something we take seriously and, uh, we are, when, when something like this happens, uh, globally, uh, we take notice and make sure that we continue to be protected. Uh, this day of rage that, that you mentioned, day of rage is something that We are taking seriously.
Jarad Bernstein: I want to be clear. We’ve been advised that there are no Specific threats that have been made anywhere in the US including our community [00:27:00] That being said, we are aware we’re taking precautions as, as anyone would. Uh, and I know the precautions that, uh, some are taking around the country are, are different than here, but we’re, we’re taking precautions that are in line with, uh, with our community.
Justin Brady: Yeah. And obviously you don’t have to speak about what those are. That’s not important. Um, but. Absolutely. Um, yeah, I mean, it’s now is a very good time to reach out to your Jewish and Israeli friends and tell them that you support them. What can I do? How can I help? And just like, I don’t, I imagine that they’re not going to say, yeah, could you come to my house and set up a perimeter with barbed wire?
Justin Brady: I mean, I imagine what, what is helpful is just to know that they’re seen like when you’re being targeted by a community, um, Uh, like you said, a very small group of terrorists, even some over here, um, just to know that you’re not alone and just to know that people see you and they’re ready to help in a moment’s notice.
Justin Brady: I think just that, correct me if I’m wrong, I think that goes a long
Jarad Bernstein: way. It does. And, um, [00:28:00] I, I want to point something out that you’ve, uh, separated, uh, Uh, Jewish people from Israelis, which is correct and incorrect at the same time. It’s correct. It’s not, it’s not a correction. This is what this is for. So please correct me.
Jarad Bernstein: Yeah. So about 80 percent of Israeli citizens are Jewish. Sure. Okay. Sure. And the rest are Arab, a mix of Arab, Druze, Bedouin, uh, various communities, some Christians. Okay. Uh, they are impacted to, uh, some of the stories of heroism that we’re, we’re seeing come to, to the fore right now. Uh, involve those communities, they, they consider themselves Israeli.
Jarad Bernstein: They’re just as disgusted, um, a large number of, um, uh, Uh, I’m with the Arab, uh, Israeli nurses in Israeli hospitals, uh, who are without being asked, volunteering for extra shifts, coming in when not being asked. Uh, the, the story that I heard, uh, uh, from the driver of a minivan, a Bedouin [00:29:00] man, uh, who was, uh, Uh, taking, uh, party goers, uh, to the, this, uh, rave in, in, uh, where, where we saw 260 innocent civilians, uh, brutally murdered, and there’s more to say there, um, uh, he could have, uh, just stayed at home.
Jarad Bernstein: Okay. He went back for the people that, that he took there, uh, his, his story of heroism of, of under fire, uh, grabbing as many people as he could and getting them out of there and telling of his other two friends, uh, also, uh, Bedouin, uh, also many bus drivers did the same thing. They did not survive when they went back in.
Jarad Bernstein: So, uh, yeah, I w I want to be clear that, um, this is, uh, uh, this impacts all Jews around the world. And impacts every single Israeli, not all of whom are Jewish.
Justin Brady: So, um, for those listening on the podcast later, we are live streaming [00:30:00] this on X and I do want to be respectful of your time. Um, we’re, we’re approaching 30 minutes.
Justin Brady: Can I, but I do, if you have a little extra time, can I ask you a few more questions? Absolutely. Okay. So, um, no, I appreciate that. The, uh, I think a lot of people here. Um, and obviously I appreciate the history lesson because I think a lot of this bizarre protest behavior we’re seeing is because people have been severely misinformed and I appreciate you being extremely level headed about this, by the way, which is unbelievable to me how you can, how you can be so level headed.
Justin Brady: But I think we’re seeing. So many people that are extremely misinformed, which is why it’s very important to don’t you don’t have to share the show. That’s fine. But at least share this information. Do a quick history lesson. Share that with the friends that are either that believe some wacky stuff. But I want to move on to something that is absolutely fascinating you shared with me about the not just the US [00:31:00] Relationship with Israel.
Justin Brady: And like you said, president Biden’s remarks that, um, the U S will back Israel. We are here for you. That’s not changing. Uh, it’s I’m sure for the Jewish community, it’s very good to hear that for the Israeli community. It’s good to hear that. Um, but the Iowa relationship is actually quite significant and I.
Justin Brady: Um, you know, obviously our governor just got back from Israel from a trade mission there. Right. She
Jarad Bernstein: did. She did. Um, uh, there are many areas where, uh, Iowa and Israel, uh, can collaborate that are expanding on collaboration. Uh, economic ties, uh, cultural ties, people, people ties, uh, and, uh, it’s been very successful whether it comes to, uh, ag tech, um, to ensure tech, um, the, there, sometimes people forget.
Jarad Bernstein: That Israel is, um, uh, an amazing modern miracle of a, of an economy [00:32:00] and, uh, it’s not just oranges, uh, and making desert blue many more, uh, you know, so the, um, uh, Israel is a, uh, innovator when it comes to drip irrigation that is helping. Uh, grow crops in, uh, places around the world, uh, that, that wouldn’t otherwise be able to grow crops.
Jarad Bernstein: Uh, of course, the, the tech scene in Israel is outstanding. It’s crazy. Every major high tech, uh, company in the U S has a huge R and D operations in Israel. Uh, and, you know, the Iowa, there’s room for, um, for business to happen between
Justin Brady: Iowa and Israel. And you shared this with me, since 1996, it looks like exports, uh, are nearly at a billion dollars from Iowa to Israel.
Justin Brady: Which is crazy to think of just one state. That’s crazy. Um, one of my clients, it’s not, thank you
Jarad Bernstein: for the distinction.
Justin Brady: [00:33:00] Thank you for the distinction. Oh man. People are like, make sure he says it’s not pork. Oh, that’s great. Um, one of my clients is in cyber security and technology and a lot of the leading innovators in cyber security are also out of Israel.
Justin Brady: Which is crazy. Um, there, um, One of the things you posted um, was absolutely fascinating. You posted on just kind of how to handle this within your own family. Again, it’s traumatic news. So, one thing I wanted you to talk about a little bit before we wrap up is tips for parents. Which was interesting to me, um, because again, this is something that I don’t think of, uh, immediately, but you’re like, you know, you do need to tell your kids about it.
Justin Brady: They’re going to find out about it, but also you, there are certain ways to do it. Can you expand on this a little bit? I think this is helpful. Yeah, sure. Why
Jarad Bernstein: don’t I kind of take a step back on that and, um, uh, we, we are Um, [00:34:00] 22 years, uh, removed from 9 11. And a lot of these, uh, same conversations happened 22 years ago.
Jarad Bernstein: It’s true. But, uh, many people in your audience, many people in general, they were not parents of young kids, uh, 22 years ago. And if they were, the kids are no longer young. And so, um, we, we wanted to, uh, be a resource, uh, in particular for our, for our own community, but the, this. It helps others, uh, as well with, um, how do you respond as a parent because, uh, you listen to these stories and there’s no way that you’re not impacted.
Jarad Bernstein: There’s no way, uh, to fully hide your emotion on it and kids, even the little kids pick up on this. Uh, and, and so it’s important, for example, uh, the, the. Uh, you make sure that, um, your kids understand that this is not their fault, that, that you are not sad because of something they did. You’re sad because Israel is hurting right now.[00:35:00]
Jarad Bernstein: Um, uh, another thing that is, um, popping up, especially, uh, for teenagers, preteens who are on social media, um, and that’s a whole conversation on its own, but, uh, videos. Uh, images, uh, are, are quite disturbing being distributed, uh, uh, on TikTok, on YouTube, on all kinds of places. You can’t unsee that stuff.
Jarad Bernstein: Nope. You can’t. Uh, and I know every parent, uh, I’d like to believe every parent out there has some controls over, uh, what, what their kids see on screens. Uh, not always a hundred percent, um, uh, successful, but now’s a, a time to be extra cautious, uh, and, and take whatever steps necessary to, um, to limit that, that screen time.
Jarad Bernstein: Um, because like I said, you, you
Justin Brady: can’t unsee that stuff. A lot of these social media sites do have tools to filter sensitive imagery, but at the end of the day, those tools are still run by [00:36:00] people and people aren’t always as fast as we like when this, when Hamas started breaking all these videos onto, so they flooded social media with tons of information and I was seeing this stuff, it was not filtered at all.
Justin Brady: And I, I don’t, I don’t. You know, uh, at least on X, formerly known as Twitter, we’re gonna be saying that for a long time, I feel like, um, there were images popping in my feed that in, in, in X, there’s a sensitive like button like this is sensitive imagery at the tap to show none of that was turned on because this information was spreading so fast.
Justin Brady: So, uh, I mean, should people like limiting screen time, you should be, I’m assuming very aware of what your kids are looking at right now
Jarad Bernstein: and what you’re looking at too. Uh, you know, it’s easy to get into that doom scrolling mode, uh, and there’s always more information out there. Uh, some of it accurate, some of it not, but it has a very real impact on our mental health.
Justin Brady: Yeah. And I mean, I’m, I’m not a mental health expert by any, any means. [00:37:00] I think there is a degree people should force themselves to watch some of this stuff. Uh, I don’t know if you’d agree with that. Please oppose this idea if you disagree with it. But I think there is a little bit of a be prepared for it.
Justin Brady: Yeah. It kind of like take your blinders off. Like this is very real. These aren’t just news statements. There are videos of this stuff happening shared by Hamas. Like I said, uh, obviously the Israeli defense force has shared some videos which were awful, but Hamas themselves has shared that they’re not hiding the true nature of their intent.
Justin Brady: Um, you mentioned the Israeli emergency fund. Uh, can you, before we end this, can you please plug that again? Tell people how they can donate and just leave us with a reminder on how we can support, um, the, our, our Jewish friends, um, in this moment. Yeah,
Jarad Bernstein: absolutely. Yeah. First and foremost, reach out to your Jewish friends.
Jarad Bernstein: Let them know that you’re paying attention, that you care. Uh, on the fundraising front, [00:38:00] uh, there is great need right now, uh, Jewish federations in North America, of which my organization is a part of, uh, is racing significant funds to, uh, uh, be directed toward victims, toward rebuilding infrastructure, uh, toward organizations that are on the ground, uh, organizations like, uh, Zaka, which, um, goes into, uh, Uh, uh, these areas and cleans up, um, um, the bodies, cleans up blood, um, uh, direct grants are being made to families of victims so that they can support themselves right now.
Jarad Bernstein: Uh, people, uh, thousands, thousands of people in the surrounding communities, uh, been evacuated from their homes because it’s dangerous right now and they’re living in hotels. They’re living in other communities outside of that zone, uh, and that, that costs money too. And so we’re, we’re supporting that. Uh, just yesterday, the initial grant to these [00:39:00] organizations from what we have raised, uh, nationally, uh, was made in the amount of 10 million.
Jarad Bernstein: Um, and so that those funds are already being put to use, uh, a lot more funds are needed and will be put to use, uh, and to help with that effort, uh, if you’re able, whether it’s a, um, donation of 18, which has a significance in Judaism of meaning life, uh, or thousands of dollars, um, you can go to jewish Des Moines dot.
Jarad Bernstein: There’s a link on the homepage to what’s going on in Israel right now, and there’s a donate with a credit card.
Justin Brady: And for all those listening, I know a lot of our listeners listen when they’re in the field. They listen when they’re driving. They’re listening on their commute. They listen when they’re flying, wherever you are.
Justin Brady: Uh, we will put all of those links at iowapodcast. com would be very easy to find if you check this within about a week of publishing, it’ll be on the homepage right there at the top. If you don’t, um, [00:40:00] if you check later, um, I think we’re just going to put that. at, uh, iowapodcast. com slash Jared, if you don’t mind, can we do that easy to find J A R A D for those that don’t know iowapodcast.
Justin Brady: com slash Jared will make sure to put it there. So it’s easy to find even when it’s not in the top page. I want to make sure people can get right to it. Jared Bernstein, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines. Please plug the website one more time, please. Yeah,
Jarad Bernstein: Jewish Des Moines dot O R G.
Jarad Bernstein: Okay. And we’ll be posting updates there, Jewish Des
Justin Brady: Moines dot o R G. Excellent. And thank you for giving me your time. I know this is a very hard time on you, on your family, on especially on the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines. Um, uh, you know, coming in here and giving an interview. It has got to be very difficult.
Justin Brady: So thank you for the strength and thank you for making time for the Iowa podcast
Jarad Bernstein: family. Thank you for, uh, for having me and for the listeners to, to giving their time to, to [00:41:00] hearing, uh,
Justin Brady: what’s going on and to my fellow Iowans, Iowa expats and Iowans at heart. Thanks for listening. Subscribing to the Iowa podcast.