Rabbi Moshe Hauer, executive vice-president of the Orthodox Union, spoke with Arutz Sheva - Israel National News to discuss the challenges and activities in wake of Israel's war against Hamas.

"I think the distance between Israel and the United States has never been shorter", Rabbi Hauer says, "The level of engagement is striking. Even foreign Jews, who usually do not identify too much with their Jewish identity or the state of Israel, have awoken to what is happening in the Land and State of Israel by the attacks of Oct. 7. On weekdays and Shabbat, the intensity of prayer, Psalms being recited with feeling and raised voices - the desire to identify is very strong. This is a crisis that has crossed the ocean.''

Rabbi Hauer says that while American Jews may not be experiencing combat or rocket bombardments, they are experiencing antisemitism that is rising at an alarming rate. "Ground zero is the university campuses, where it is beyond belief how openly people support and normalize terrorism, while the administration stands by and watches, and Jewish students need to go hide under a rock. It is happening on the streets in certain cities."

"Thank God, not many have had their daily lives interrupted, though there have been some blips, some people who have backed away from active participation in Jewish life. There is a need for us to be out there, showing who we are, and being part of restoring the norms of the United States of America. It is jarring to see what is happening here and the degree of tolerance for it."

Rabbi Hauer relates to the planned giant rally in Washington DC: "The rally in Washington is going to be a Jewish rally. That doesn’t mean that it’s only Jews - we expect to see tens of thousands of our fellow Americans there. That means that we are not going to shout things down. We are going to be there to stand up. A Palestinian rally declares ‘from the river to the sea’, and calls for destruction. At a pro-Israel rally, people stand around in a circle and sing traditional Jewish songs."

"That’s the essence of this rally - it’s an appreciation for freedom of expression, for the state of Israel, for the American government’s support, which has been strong and consistent. It’s an expression of support and love for the hostages, to keep that issue in front of the world so that whenever someone tries to talk of humanitarianism they will need to give it more than a token sentence. Finally, it is a statement against antisemitism, raising the voices of the vast majority of Americans who say that this scourge has no place among us, and we hope that, with God’s help, the event itself will not be scarred by expressions of antisemitism towards the tens and hundreds of thousands of people we expect to attend.”

Rabbi Hauer visited Israel in the aftermath of the Hamas invasion. “Our Sages say that one cannot compare hearing of something to seeing it. Those few days in Israel clarified our connection, and our focus, and showed what we had to do. The OU brought leaders of more than twenty different communities to Israel the very next week to connect, and with that connection, they were able to go and uplift their communities and be more driven, and stronger, and more focused on their work for the situation in Israel."

"I hope to come back soon -my partners and I here are balancing, taking turns going to Israel to get new and further information and learn how we can be helpful, and then coming back here to do our job, affecting the communal reaction to the extent that we can.”