The Rabbinical Council of America, the largest Orthodox rabbinical organization in North America, condemns the recent attacks by Palestinian terrorists which claimed the lives of five innocent people. The November 19, 2015 attacks raised the total number of civilians murdered in the past two months to 19 along with 172 wounded, 20 of them seriously. To date, this latest wave of terror includes 66 stabbings, 9 shootings, and 8 car rammings.
Yesterday’s attacks were particularly egregious claiming the lives not only of Jewish Israelis, but a Palestinian, and an American Jew. Together with an entire world still reeling from the terrorist massacres in Paris, we mourn the deaths of Rabbi Aharon Yesayev, 32, of Tel Aviv and Reuven Aviram, 51, of Ramle, who were stabbed as they were entering a synagogue for prayers, and of Ezra Schwartz, 18, of Sharon, Massachusetts; Rabbi Yaakov Don, 49, of Alon Shvut; and Shadi Arafa, 40, of Hebron who were gunned down in cold blood.
Rabbi Shalom Baum, president of the RCA, said, “While each innocent life is precious and while the murder of other Israelis are personal to us in many ways, as a rabbinical organization comprised mostly of rabbis in North America, we especially mourn the murder of Ezra Schwartz who was participating a program of nine months of Torah study and volunteer work in Israel. Ezra and his friends were visiting the memorial established for the three Israeli teens who were kidnapped and killed last summer, and were about to distribute food to soldiers stationed in Gush Etzion when the attack took place.”
Rabbi Elazar Muskin, vice president of the RCA, added, “Ezra’s year in Israel has become a rite of passage for many young men and women in our community. In that sense, while the loss is most personal for his parents, family, and friends, Ezra’s murder is an attack on all of our children, their parents, family, and friends.”
The members of the RCA extend their heartfelt condolences to the family of Ezra Schwartz and the other victims.