URJ Calls for an Immediate End to Violent Attacks in Israel



In a press release issued today, URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs issued the following statement:

The growing number of violent attacks on Jews and Jewish sites in Israel must end. Continuing on this course puts Palestinians and Israelis on the precipice of a conflagration that will end only with greater bloodshed. Today’s arson desecrating Joseph’s Tomb was just the latest in a string of incidents targeting Jewish people and property, destroying families, and vandalizing holy sites. Such actions lead both sides ever further from peace. President Abbas must take the steps necessary to halt these attacks immediately, including refraining from fanning the flames of violence with rhetoric. Israeli leaders – including Prime Minister Netanyahu – must take the steps necessary to ensure the safety and security of Jewish Israelis, without alienating Palestinians who reject acts of violence. As Shabbat starts, we join with Jews around the world in praying for a week of peace to come.

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One Response to “URJ Calls for an Immediate End to Violent Attacks in Israel”

  1. avatar


    Yes! The attacks must stop. The burning of Josephs Tomb was an atrocity, which the PA and Abu Mazen condemned emphatically. Being a Jerusalemite I certainly do find myself looking over my shoulders and wishing I could be around my children, my spouse, to look over their shoulders for them. But, that has been the story of life here for most of my 20+ years of living in and being a part of this city and country.

    Last night, for Kabalat Shabbat, at our small Reform congregation we hosted a group of divinity/theology students from Germany. After services, I and another veteran member of the congregation and, like me a leftist, progressive and an active Reform Jew (from the US), were talking briefly about the violence with one of the students. He expressed concern and said he was sorry it was happening and that it was not our fault. My friend and I looked at each other and almost simultaneously and sympathetically looked back at the student, shook our heads a bit and said, something to the effect that yes, actually it is “our fault.”

    Of course it is not our actual fault but it is time to realize,we tried to make clear, that the violence has a collective fault and blame to place.(CAVEAT – acts of violence are intolerable, stabbing civilians is totally outside the realms of civil and acceptable behavior in the course of this and any conflict!) I would put it this way: We are speaking now of a wave of terror. Every wave must have a sea in which to form and wind to give it motion. I see the Occupation as that sea and the ongoing impunity for settlement activity, regular and permitted (by the State) settler violence (not just the more recent news attention grabbing incidents), the statements and actions of radical right wing members of the governing coalition and MKs about going up to the Temple Mount and their actual visits there (as Reform Jews and as Jewish progressives is it not time to say enough regarding the Temple Mount?!?!? Like in our liturgy should it not be so in our discourse? The Temple Mount and a return to it is not a part of a Reform theology nor a Reform Zionist!?!?), are all part of the enormous and powerful wind which energizes this wave.

    What is clear is that the wave can certainly calm down but that means a sea change and it means that a counter wind needs to emerge from within Israel (many of us here are and have been making that wind, during this period, going to demonstrations and working for peace and human rights over the years) and from outside of Israel. We certainly appreciate the URJ’s position that settlements harm peace and are not good for Israel but we need more! We need a stronger mainstream Diaspora voice to say even more powerful things and make clear that love for Israel needs to get tougher. To get it (I think you do) and to SAY it that, for instance, Jewish pluralism cannot exist and may even be irrelevant in a political society that works for and cares only about continuing the Occupation. And that Progressive Judaism(s) in Israel is part of civil society but cannot exist as part of civil society when the Government keeps on taking aim at other members of that same civil society just because they speak out about the Occupation and human rights. We need a strong voice that says, like in the legacy and spirit of Abraham Joshua Heschel regarding the fact that Black Lives Matter, so to do Palestinian Lives and rights in this part of the world. I fear that if the struggle against the Occupation does not get stronger on the part of mainstream Progressive Jews outside of Israel, the idea of Jewish pluralism will not be so relevant.

    Yes it is that critical.

    So NO TO VIOLENCE! And Yes to understanding (I think it is understood) and to a large mainstream Jewish organization speaking MORE to the depth of the sources of violence and the way that power and privilege plays into it here. Reform Judaism has that power and that position…

    Shabbat Shalom! Od Navi Shalom/Saalam Aleinu!

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