KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Nine Americans are among those killed in Israel after deadly attacks launched by Hamas over the weekend.

The conflict in the Middle East is sending shockwaves around the globe all the way to Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Saturday will be remembered as one of the most devastating days in Israel’s history. 28/22 News spoke with a Luzerne County rabbi Monday for his reaction to the war.

The flag of Israel was lowered to half-staff Monday outside the Sidney and Pauline Friedman Jewish Community Center in Kingston.

Rabbi Larry Kaplan of Temple Israel in Wilkes-Barre reflected on Saturday’s devastating assault on Israel by Hamas, presumably planned to coincide with the Jewish sabbath and a religious holiday.

“And here to wake up on a holiday morning, a sabbath morning, at the end of our Sukkot festival, one of the happiest days of the year, celebrating the Torah, and hearing what was going on, seeing what was going on, it was truly a catastrophe,” said rabbi Kaplan of Temple Israel in Wilkes-Barre.

The attack, unprecedented in scale and scope, is the deadliest offensive that Israel has experienced in 50 years. Hamas militants have taken Israeli soldiers and civilians as hostages and some Americans are among those who lost their lives.

“To have this reaction means that they really seem to just want Israel to no longer exist. It’s so painful for me. I consider Israel my homeland. I lived there for two years and traveled in these same areas,” stated Rabbi Kaplan.

Rabbi Kaplan has this message for members of the Jewish community as the situation unfolds in the Middle East.

“It’s to keep faith and to continue with the Israeli national anthem, which is called “Hatikva,” which means ‘the hope.’ We need to keep hope that things are going to work out okay for the future, especially the future for our kids. And that’s our blessing for shalom, for true peace.”

Rabbi Larry Kaplan, Temple Israel in Wilkes-Barre.

A solemn program is planned for Tuesday night, starting at 7:00, at the Jewish Community Center in Kingston. It’s called a “Stand with Israel” gathering featuring prayers and songs and everyone is invited.