Minnesota officials closely watch events in Israel

APTOPIX Palestinians Israel
A ball of fire and smoke rise from an explosion on a Palestinian apartment tower following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The militant Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip carried out an unprecedented, multi-front attack on Israel at daybreak Saturday, firing thousands of rockets as dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated the heavily fortified border.
Adel Hana | AP

Officials in Minnesota are keeping a close eye on events in Israel after the devastating attack launched by Hamas early Saturday morning.

The U.S. government is actively working to verify reports that several Americans may be among the dead in the Israel-Hamas conflict. The Israeli government confirmed that several Americans were among those who were taken captive.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said her office has no reason to believe Minnesotans have been killed or taken hostage in Israel, and her office is helping dozens of her constituents that are in Israel get back to the United States.

“They may have been visiting friends, they may have family there, they may be on vacation, they may be studying there, business, a lot of people do business with Israel in Minnesota,” Klobuchar said Sunday. "We believe they are now safely sheltering in place, but they have contacted our office about how to get home.”

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woman speaks at mic
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar addresses the press at an event in 2022.
Hannah Yang | MPR News 2022

State Sen. Sandra Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, said she has been closely watching the situation as she has two daughters as well as extended family who live in Israel.

"You have decade after decade of not dealing with the Palestinian occupation and the peace process,” Pappas said. “It just boils up until you have something horrible like this."

Her family lives in the northern part of Israel, closer to Lebanon. They are remaining alert in case conflict spreads.

"We're in touch everyday, we're on a WhatsApp chat and I've been talking to them and keeping our eyes open,” Pappas said.

Following a flare-up of tensions between Hamas and Israel in 2021, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said antisemitic incidents increased in the United States by 75 percent compared to the two weeks before the conflict began.

“And in that particular case, we saw instances of synagogues being vandalized, we saw Jews being attacked at a kosher restaurant, we saw Orthodox Jews being harassed as they walked down the street, whether it be to their home or to synagogue,” said David Goldenberg, the ADL’s Midwest Regional Director.

Goldenberg said that ADL saw a 500 percent increase in antisemitic threats on the online platform Telegram on Saturday alone.

He said that ADL has been working with local law enforcement to ensure that officers are alert and aware of potential antisemitic activities and many cities have increased security around local synagogues.