April 15, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Tenafly Gas Station Flies Israeli Flag to Show Support

Tenafly—Why is an Israeli flag waving in the breeze at Robert Obernauer’s Vale­ro gas station in Tenafly? “Americans don’t get it,” Obernauer tells JLBC. “After 9/11, Ha­mas was cheering on top of buildings. Ha­mas is a terrorist organization. The U.S. won’t negotiate with a terrorist organization, why should Israel?”

Obernauer says America needs Israel as an ally and thinks we would have even more trouble from Iran without Israel. But he also sees Israel as the front line defense to keep another Holocaust at bay. It’s personal for him; he comes from a family of Holocaust survivors. Obernauer said his grandfather was in a concentration camp but was re­leased and allowed to leave with his family because they had a sponsor. Carl Laemmle, Jr, producer of films such as Frankenstein and Dracula, sponsored the family since he came from the same hometown. Robert’s father was six years old at the time. They were lucky to get out, Obernauer said, but his grandfather later died from the emphy­sema he contracted in the camp.

Obernauer has strong opinions and he occasionally expresses them by put­ting up signs. He feels that too much American money is going overseas. “That’s why I bought Valero; I wanted to stay an American company,” he said.

Public reaction to Obernauer’s Israe­li flag has been mixed. “The news me­dia makes it hard to convince people Israel is not the aggressor in Gaza,” he said. “People listen; they understand my point of view. But their minds are made up.”

There have been positives and nega­tives, Obernauer said, but he has seen a slight downturn in business. “Business is down 15 percent from the same peri­od last year, from the time I put up the flag,” he said.

If you want to change those results, fill ‘er up at Valero, 343 Tenafly Road, Te­nafly.

By Bracha Schwartz

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