January 11, 2006January 11, 2006
RCA Applauds Bush’s Stand Against HamasFebruary 14, 2006
The Rabbinical Council of America Issues a Statement Regarding Events in Amona, Israel
Feb 7, 2006
The RCA is appalled at the images and first hand reports that it has
seen and received from Amona. While news accounts differ, and some of
the facts remain in dispute, this much is clear: The government of
Israel used its border police to remove settlers and protesters from
nine buildings. These police used considerable force, injuring about
200 people, including some who did not actively pose a threat, and
including three members of Knesset. Some of the protestors used
violence to resist the police, throwing rocks and cinder blocks, and
injuring about 50.
Such wanton violence does not belong in a Jewish polity; Jews do not
treat Jews this way. Those who may be responsible (on whichever side of
the divide they may be) must be held to account lest this become the
way of the future. We therefore strongly support the call of President
Katzav for the formation of a panel of inquiry to uncover the truth.
The members who comprise such a panel must have the confidence of all
parties involved, the independence to be motivated only by the search
for truth, and the power to subpoena all necessary people and documents.
We are distressed that the Olmert government, according to press
reports, will not consider such a panel.
But regardless of the results of any investigation, an unacceptable and
tragic precedent has been set. Brother has lifted hand against brother.
Tactics and language hitherto reserved only for battles between Israel
and her enemies have been applied by groups of Jews against each other.
The failure to find a peaceful way to resolve the situation has
created a state of affairs that can easily spiral out of control.
We are alarmed at the prospect of young religious Israelis growing up to view the government as the enemy.
We are alarmed at the prospect of the duly elected government of Israel
singling out one group in Israeli society for harsh treatment on the
ground and in the media.
We are alarmed at the widening of the rift between religious and secular that these events portend.
From six thousand miles away we share in the pain of a nation divided, and it is that shared pain that makes us speak out.
We beg our brothers and sisters to step back from the precipice and work to rebuild trust.
We call upon the government of Israel to recognize that settlers are not
enemies of the State of Israel and ought not be subjected to the
indiscriminate use of force.
We call upon our brothers and sisters in the Religious Zionist camp to
concede that the duly elected Israeli government has the authority to
determine the policies of the State. Even if one does not agree with
such policies, sometimes, for the greater good, painful sacrifices have
to be made.
We realize that the implementation of these points poses difficult
challenges for both sides. We feel, however, that in the other
direction lies the abyss. The painful becomes palatable when the
alternative is, Heaven forbid, the unraveling of Israel society.