The Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley is asking its members to say a prayer following an escalation of violence in Israel.

Aaron Gorodzinsky with the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley says the federation has a sister community that it visited several times a year before the pandemic. He says Yoav is 30 miles from the fighting, but residents must still be prepared to get to a bomb shelter in seconds should the violence escalate.

Gorodzinsky says the fighting couldn't come at a worse time, on Jerusalem Day when Israelis celebrate the reunification of the city, during Ramadan, and on the tail end of a global pandemic that has left many struggling.

"Last year a lot of the celebrations were canceled because of COVID in particular, it's the first year where everybody can return to worship together and to see an escalation as people are returning to pray in the holy city is some thing nobody wants to see happen," Gorodzinsky said.

Congresswoman Susan Wild condemned the violence, saying: "Israeli and Palestinian leaders must now use their positions of power to immediately deescalate tensions, not continue to pour fuel on an already raging fire."

The State Department says it's also working to bring calm to the situation.

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