The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), the largest professional organization of Orthodox rabbis, applauds the swift and decisive reaction of the Israeli government to two acts of violence by Jews against Arabs.
In unrelated incidents, a mob of youth attacked a young Arab man in Jerusalem’s Zion Square, while teens hurled a fire bomb at an Arab taxi near Bat Ayin. The violence was quickly condemned by Prime Minister Netanyahu, and arrests were speedily made. The Ministry of Education ordered that all middle- and high-schools in the country spend time in each classroom discussing the incident and how to prevent its recurrence.
Remarked Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, the RCA’s president, “We are grateful that all segments of Israeli leadership recognized the power of speech and visual images – even when legally protected – to spawn hatred and violence. Even though the perpetrators have histories as troubled youth, Israel’s leaders wisely decided to examine whether toxic images and stereotypes might be affecting a broader part of Israel’s youth. As Jews, we know the power of words, both positive and negative.”
Rabbi Leonard Matanky, first vice-president of the RCA, added, “Because we believe that all of humanity was created in the image of God, and the ways of our sacred Torah are ways of pleasantness, we must work to ensure that the decades of struggle in the very difficult region of the Middle East do not erode our most cherished values.”