Aug 3, 2015
Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County Leaders Condemn Violence and Intolerance in Israel, Urge Jewish Unity
We at the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County join our Jewish family here and around the world in shock, horror and grief at the two heinous acts of violence in Israel in recent days that have dominated the headlines of Jewish news. The stabbings at the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade and the firebombing of an occupied Palestinian family home in the West Bank have tragically taken the lives of two innocent children and gravely injured others, some now fighting for survival.
As people of compassion and justice who know too well the depths where intolerance meets extremism, we condemn these brutal attacks in the strongest possible terms. Our hearts and prayers go out to the bereaved, the injured and all those terrorized by these horrific acts of hatred, and we hope and pray that those responsible will be swiftly brought to justice.
We also stand with leaders from across the political spectrum in the proudly diverse democratic State of Israel, and with the overwhelming public outcry of thousands there, in recognizing that condemnation of the acts and justice for the perpetrators are not enough in response. They, and we, know that this is a time for soul-searching, and for measures to ensure that their society and our people honor our Jewish values that eschew such violence and divisiveness and embrace tolerance – Jewish values on which our homeland was founded, and which we and other leaders so consciously foster together in our own diverse Jewish community.
We join Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who said before thousands that this is not a time to succumb to “shock and anger,” but “a wake-up call” and “a time to join together” for widespread institutional efforts to put out “the spreading flames of hatred.”
We applaud Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who labeled the West Bank firebombing “a clear terrorist attack” and affirmed that “Israel takes a tough stance against terrorism regardless of who the perpetrators are.” He also called the stabbings at the Gay Pride Parade “an attack on all of our children.”
“We reject this hatred out of hand,” said Netanyahu. “We will also do what is required to learn the lessons, but the most important lesson is acceptance of the other, even when he is not like you... What happened in Jerusalem goes against the spirit of our people."
And we echo Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau’s powerful words to Governor Rajoub of Nablus, the region of the firebombing, “I would like to go there and cry out that this is not the way of Judaism, and the entire Jewish People in Israel and around the world condemn this reprehensible and awful act…. We must act with full force against those who did this and we must educate against those who might be liable to do such things." Thanking Rabbi Lau for his call, the governor said that he knew this was not our people’s tradition, and welcomed Rabbi Lau’s visit.