"I personally want to express my regard to the leaders of Israel for taking what they have without retaliation," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Sunday evening at a solidarity rally for Israel. "After what they've been through I wouldn't blame them for going after Saddam Hussein, and if he uses chemical weapons - they ought to!"
Hatch told a standing-room-only audience of about 300 at Salt Lake's Congregation Kol Ami, "This is a just war. This man (Saddam Hussein) has weapons of mass destruction - chemical, nuclear and even worse, biological weapons. Had we failed to back the U.N. resolution, in a couple of weeks the coalition would have fallen apart."Hatch said if chemical weapons are used and the Israelis strike back at Iraq, most of the world will support the action. "I believe that the world knows that the Israelis have practiced great restraint, and if they have to retaliate, the majority of the coalition will stand," he said.
Hatch joined with representatives of Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, and Mayor Palmer DePaulis; Lt. Governor Val Oveson and Rep. Bill Orton, D-Utah, in expressing support for Israel and for the military men and women in the Persian Gulf.
Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, was to speak to the group by phone from Tel Aviv, but technical problems interfered. The Catholic, Protestant and LDS churches were also represented along with the National Conference of Christians and Jews and the Salt Lake Ministerial Association.
The deputy consul general of Israel in Los Angeles, Tsuriel Raphael, spoke by telephone to the group assembled in the sanctuary of Kol Ami. "Yesterday on Shabbat morning another attack was made to the center of Israel by Iraq. There were 24 injuries, 300 to 400 apartments were damaged and one building demolished. Iraq has launched 11 missile attacks against Israel with 31 missiles," he said.
Israeli Avner Kallay also addressed the group, telling them that being attacked by 30 Scud missiles - which he called "big, noisy and effective" - was not a major catastrophe.
"What was a major event was that for the first time we feel unsecure in our own cities. Soldiers worry about their parents and children back home, and we cannot fight our own war," Kallay said. "It is smart, wise and courageous not to fight back, but to sit in a sealed room with a gas mask and try to live as normally as possible."
Kallay said that when he received his gas mask he thought it was like science fiction. "Our cities have always been secure. Now we hear explosions all around us and listen to the radio saying, `now you can take your masks off' and the television saying, `don't you dare do it!' "
But life goes on, said Kallay. In December 40,000 immigrants arrived from Russia. "They step down from the plane and are handed a gas mask and then are interviewed by television and they say, `This is much better than communism!' "