Aviv Ezra is consul general of Israel to the Midwest.
As we stand with our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh, the tension escalates in the Mideast between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
At 3:39 a.m. on Oct. 17, a rocket launched from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip struck a direct hit on a residential house in Be'er Sheva, the main city of Israel's south. The rocket caused severe damage to the family home, where Miri Tamano and her three children were sleeping.
Although the house was destroyed, the family managed to reach the home's bomb shelter seconds before the rocket hit and, luckily, no one was injured.
Unfortunately, this is the reality for residents of Israel's southern communities, suffering for more than a decade from Hamas rockets launched from the Gaza Strip.
While Hamas exploits its own people in Gaza and terrorizes innocent Israelis, the Israeli government does everything in its power to protect its citizens' lives.
Every home, school, playground and public space in Israel's south has been equipped with a bomb shelter or safe room, which prove invaluable in saving lives when they are under attack.
There is a fundamental asymmetry in the ongoing conflict: Hamas deliberately targets Israeli civilians, while Israel's response is aimed at Hamas' military infrastructure.
Hamas uses its own population as human shields, while Israel does its utmost to protect its civilians and to avoid harming civilians on the other side.
After Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, the Palestinians had a golden opportunity to develop new capabilities and leadership.
However, in 2007, the Hamas terror organization seized control of the Gaza Strip in a bloody coup.
For more than a decade, Hamas has spent its efforts and resources on forging attacks against Israel while oppressing its own people and violating their liberties and human rights.
These daily aggressions have grown in intensity in the past six months, with Hamas orchestrating violent mass riots at the border between Gaza and Israel, which include hurling of explosive devices, shooting and arson terror.
Hamas claims it is responsible for administering the Gaza Strip and caring for the needs of its population. However, Hamas leaders are behaving more like a criminal syndicate.
Instead of investing to improve Gaza's economy and the Palestinians' welfare, Hamas continues choking its population – consuming most resources for military spending in a futile war against Israel.
Hamas expects the Palestinian Authority, Israel, the United Nations and the broader international community to take care of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip while Hamas itself wages an endless violent struggle against Israel, exploiting its civilian population, launching rockets at Israeli communities, promoting terror and ignoring outright the plight of their own people.
By perpetuating a constant state of war against Israel, Hamas leaders have shown that their main objective is not to enhance the well-being of the Palestinians but rather to cause maximum harm to Israelis. Israel will spare no effort to protect its citizens.
Think about it and always ask the critical question: What would America do?