‘I’ve seen the worst in the world’: Peoria mayor visits Israel
PEORIA, Ariz. (3TV/CBS 5) - New numbers from the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said over 9,700 Palestinians have been killed in the Israel-Hamas war. Protestors continue to fill the streets around the world as pressure mounts for a ceasefire.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in the Middle East, meeting with leaders there, and the United States is also pushing for a “Humanitarian pause” to allow more aid to get into Gaza.
About 1,100 people have left the Gaza Strip since Wednesday after an agreement was made between the United States, Egypt, Israel and Hamas through Qatar. But hundreds of thousands of people are still stuck there in poor conditions after Israeli blasts hit the region, cutting the electricity and other resources to hospitals. More than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel.
Peoria Mayor Jason Beck is in Israel right now, touring areas devastated by the Hamas attacks that started the war nearly one month ago. He also owns a body armor manufacturing company in the Valley, and last month, Arizona’s Family shared a story about his protective gear donation to Israel.
Beck calls his experience in Israel hair-raising and humbling. He has been there since Monday and said what he is witnessing is the worst of humanity.
“We’ve had four rocket attacks since we’ve been here at this location. The Iron Dome has shot them all down from above us,” he said in a video he took. Beck is recording his first-hand account on the ground in Israel.
He took videos in Be’eri, one of the communities hit by Hamas on Oct. 7. “Children were tied up here and burned. Parents were killed. Grandparents were killed. They were slaughtered in cold blood in a very devastating way,” he said in that same video.
He said the country he loves and has visited five prior times, now looks like an eerie ghost town. “I consider myself a very tough man. This is one of those things that just shakes you to your core,” said Beck.
Beck has been walking through homes and streets that have been bombed and destroyed, standing where Israeli people were killed. “It is absolutely horrific and I’ve seen the worst in the world,” he said.
While there, he’s met with political and religious leaders, families who have lost loved ones in the war, and IDF soldiers. “They do not have a choice. They must end Hamas or the country of Israel and democracy in the Middle East will not exist,” said Beck.
Beck owns TYR Tactical and his family gave dozens of protective vests and shields to IDF. He was able to see a unit of 70 troops wear that donated gear. “That’s exactly what I came here for,” he said.
Beck said being there in the war zone as rockets fire off around him reaffirms his commitment to stand up to terrorism and fight for freedom. “They were exploding, you know, 200-300 feet above our heads. As we were driving our vehicle was literally shaking from the explosion,” said Beck.
“Do I think that democracy is worth the risk of my life or anybody else’s life? Yeah, absolutely.” Beck plans to return to Arizona tomorrow.
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