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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The Jewish community, and those who support them in Indiana, have been standing in solidarity ever since the fighting between Hamas and Israeli forces began.

To learn more about the conflict, the Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley held a community gathering in South Bend Wednesday evening to hear from experts as well as local leaders about what they know of the conflict and what can be done to help Israeli citizens.

Among the speakers were South Bend Mayor James Mueller, but also Dr. Jonathan Schanzer, an expert on the Middle East who has published books on the instability in the region, especially between Hamas and Israel.

“(Hamas) don’t play by the same rules as the United States,” he said. “They actually want to overturn the American-led order and they seek anarchy.”

Which is why he feels there is a lot of basis to the theory that this latest round of attacks on Israel by Hamas are being backed by Iran. Many have asserted that given the sheer coordination of the attacks.

Schanzer said Hamas’ actions in the last week have shown that talking is no longer an avenue to take when it comes to peace between them and Israel.

“Hamas decided that it was permissible to slaughter men, women, children, elderly, pregnant women, mutilate bodies, decapitate people,” Schanzer said. “The longer that Israel has allowed Hamas to exist the stronger it has become.”

On that note, Schanzer predicts that the next step for Israeli forces is a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. There have been signs an invasion is imminent as Israel’s ground forces are getting ready near the Gaza border and one Israeli spokesperson said the fighting is only going to intensify.

Up to this point, the fighting has left over 2,200 dead between Israelis, Palestinians, and Hamas militants. 22 Americans are also said to have been killed in the fighting. Americans are also believed to be among the hostages Hamas is holding in Gaza.