Rabbis Respond to Escalating Violence in Israel and Gaza

RELEASE DATE: May 11, 2021

T’ruah: “There can be no justification for aiming missiles at civilians, which is a war crime.”

NEW YORK — In response to escalating violence in Israel, including rockets from Gaza that have killed two Israelis and injured others, retaliatory attacks that have killed more than two dozen Palestinians in Gaza including children, and protests in Jerusalem and in mixed Jewish/Palestinian cities throughout Israel, T’ruah, a rabbinic human rights group representing over 2,000 rabbis and cantors and their communities in North America released a statement calling for an end to violence. 

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah, released the following statement: 

“There is no justification for attacks on civilians. Our prayers are with everyone in Jerusalem, Sderot, Ashkelon, and elsewhere in Israel facing the threat of Hamas rocket fire, as well as with Palestinians in Gaza who are under fire from retaliatory strikes by the IDF. This violence, which has killed 28 people in Gaza, including 10 children, as well as at least two Israelis, does not keep anyone safe. There can be no justification for aiming missiles at civilians, which is a war crime. We call on the Israeli government and on Hamas to move quickly toward a ceasefire, before any more lives are lost. 

“We need a political, not military solution. This return to violence does not serve the interests of Israelis or Palestinians. In the long term, only a peace agreement including an end to the occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state to exist in mutual respect side-by-side with Israel will end this decades-long cycle of violence, which causes such unbearable suffering for residents of Gaza and for Israelis living within range of Hamas rockets.

“Above all, we must prioritize the infinite value of each unique human life. The Sages taught that while a person stamps several coins with one seal, and they are all similar to each other, the Holy Blessed One stamps all people with the same seal of Adam the first man, and not one of them is similar to another (Sanhedrin 38a).

“T’ruah rabbis and cantors will continue to be moral voices committed to defending human rights for both Israelis and Palestinians. We stand with our Israeli partners, including human rights and civil society organizations, as we pray for and work toward an end to violence and occupation.”

 

T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights mobilizes a network of more than 2,000 rabbis and cantors from all streams of Judaism that, together with the Jewish community, act on the Jewish imperative to respect and advance the human rights of all people. Grounded in Torah and our Jewish historical experience and guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we call upon Jews to assert Jewish values by raising our voices and taking concrete steps to protect and expand human rights in North America, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories.