**UPDATE—Mayor Levine Cava's office has changed the online press release to read "Israel" and not "Gaza Region" after our story broke
The horrific attack by the Hamas terror group in Israel on October 7th that left 1,400 Israelis, Americans, and foreigners dead, and resulted in the kidnapping of over 240 civilians, has been widely condemned around the world, and by American lawmakers and elected officials, including Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava (D).
Mayor Cava, who is Jewish-American, released a statement through her mayoral office denouncing the Hamas attack as it was still being realized.
“I am deeply shocked and heartbroken at the news of attacks on Israeli civilians and the senseless acts of violence by Hamas terrorists, as Israel celebrated a Jewish holiday,” stated Mayor Cava.”These heinous acts of violence must come to an end to protect innocent lives. Miami-Dade stands with the people of Israel and their right to defend themselves against acts of terror today, tomorrow and always.”
But while Mayor Cava rightfully acknowledges that Hamas attacked “Israeli civilians,” her office didn't appear to want to acknowledge the attack was actually carried out in Israel, instead stating that the attack was carried out in the "Gaza region.”
According to the Miami-Dade County government website, it appears that media contact Natalia Jaramillo penned the headline that stated, “Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava reacts to civilian attacks in Gaza region”
“At least 40 Israeli civilians were killed and 740 were injured after attacks in the Gaza region” was the opening sentence in Jaramillo’s release.
Cava's statement was released as the attack was going on.
Again, instead of stating that Hamas entered Israel to kill Israeli civiilans, Cava’s office refers to Israel as the “Gaza region.”
Was this a blatant effort to disregard or refuse to acknowledge the state of Israel by Cava’s office?
Considering that elected officials usually do not write their own public statements, let alone look over a press release before their staff pushes it out, there is a very good possibility that Cava was not aware of how the statement read before it was made public.
In taking a closer look into Natalia Jaramillo, a former activist who appears to have been the author of the press release, she has had a history of making social media statements that could be perceived as being anti-Israel.
In 2014, Jaramillo tweeted a link to a story about how some business were trying to “Hold #Israel Accountable” followed by the hashtang “#FreePalestine.”
Jaramillo also promoted the pro-Palestine movie, “Where Should the Birds Fly.”
The movie, which is narrated by the film creator and director, Fida Qishta, casts a dark shadow over Israel, blaming the Israelis for creating Palestinan refugees “forced from their homes by the creation of Israel.”
“The real question is the imprisonment of the people of Gaza. Why the continued occupation of Palestinian land and the massive collective punishment of its people,” said Qishta.
Jaramillo made the tweet when she was a volunteer in the communications office of Freedom Flicks, which is part of the Social Justice Film Collective in the the city of Miami.
The “Gaza region” comment has raised eyebrows in the pro-Israel community.
Both Republican and Miami area U.S. Reps Mario Diaz-Balart and Carlos Gimenez, took issue of the referencing of Israel as the “Gaza region.”
“No. Hamas attacked Israelis in Israel, there is no doubt about that. Even Hamas knows that.,” said Rep. Gimenez. “The Gaza region? I don’t know what she’s talking about the Gaza region.”
Rep. Diaz-Balart dismissed the statement as well.
“The reality is that there are some that are trying to confuse,” said Rep. Diaz-Blart. “There are some who are looking at ways not to criticize hamas directly or not only recognize, not only right, but the responsibility to protect itself and its citizens.”
Former journalist and political strategies Fred Menachem, who has been pushing back against antisemitic rhetoric, also took issue with Cava’s office’s “choice to replace Israel with “Gaza Regioj.”
Let me be very clear, while legitimate criticism of the Israeli government is not antisemitic, denying Israel's right to exist is not only blatant antisemitism, it's reprehensible because it puts Jews in direct threat of violence and ultimately it calls for our extermination. The fact that on October 7, the day of the worst attack directed at Jews since the Holocaust in Israel, that a rogue spokesperson would make the choice to replace Israel with 'Gaza Region' and choose to play 'social justice warrior' while the mass murder was still underway 'boils my blood,” stated Menachem.
Jaramillio has not been able to be contacted for comment
Cava nor her office have yet to respond to The Floridan’s request for comment on whether the mayor would be returning the travel gift she received from the Qatari government when they furnished travel expense for her tirp to Doha, Qatar.