DULLES, Va. (DC News Now) — Gil Preuss said returning to Israel amid its war was important to him.
The CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington flew Thursday to Israel to bring needed supplies to his homeland as Israeli forces are preparing to invade Gaza to battle Hamas.
When many people, including Americans, are leaving Israel amid the conflict, Preuss said in an interview with DC News Now that he believes it’s important for him to be there.
He said the potential danger was not going to dissuade him.
“Someone said to my wife that that they think I’m brave. I actually don’t think I’m brave,” he said just before he was boarding a flight out of Dulles International Airport. “If I was worried for my personal safety in any significant way, I probably wouldn’t go.”
Preuss said he is taking 40 duffel bags of materials to Israel as well as letters from children in the DMV for soldiers to read.
He said Israel has a right to defend itself after the attacks two weeks ago from Hamas that left well over 1,000 people dead and others kidnapped.
“People came in and they murdered whole families, children, elderly, just burned down villages, threw hand grenades into bomb shelters,” Preuss said. “The country’s in a lot of pain.”
President Joe Biden recently flew to Israel this week to reassure the Israeli government that America has its back as Israel is getting preparations ready to invade Gaza to get rid of the Hamas militants.
When conflicts happen in his homeland, Preuss said he always gets on a plane to go and support the Israeli people.
“I was there and lived there during the Yom Kippur War,” he said. “I know the trauma that a country, that a people go through when something like this happens.”
Preuss said if there is a chance that an invasion happens, he could get stuck in Israel.
“I understand that this could get a lot worse very quickly and so that’s something that I’m aware of and I’ll keep on top of that,” he said. “On the other hand, that’s not going to prevent me from going.”