JCRC Responds to Attacks in Jerusalem

(NOVEMBER 18–BOSTON)

Statement by Jeremy Burton, Executive Director, and Jill Goldenberg, President, on behalf of the Jewish Community Relations Council:

We are heartbroken and angered as the details of today’s savage attack in Jerusalem emerge. An attack on a house of worship, any house of worship, must be condemned without equivocation. We expect that all people of faith and all leaders of faith communities will condemn today’s terrorist attack and the brutal murder of these four rabbis at prayer.

Beyond the anguish we feel for any attack on worshipers, and for the vile targeting of innocent Jews, Boston’s Jewish community feels a particular connection to today’s events. Three of the four victims identified today were dual Israeli-American citizens and one, Rabbi Mosheh Twersky, z’tl, was a son of Boston and a member of one of our most distinguished families.

Rabbi Twersky was head of the Torat Moshe yeshiva, and the grandson of Rabbi Dr. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, z'l, luminary of Orthodoxy and founder of the Maimonides School in Brookline, of which his grandson was an alumnus. May Rabbi Twersky's memory and the memory of all of today's victims be for a blessing and may their families find comfort in Zion and Jerusalem.

There are those who seek to incite violence through acts of terror and by spreading fear and anger, and diminish hope for a real possibility of peace. Today’s terrorist attack and other attacks in recent weeks are the product of those who would diminish hope and turn us against one another.

It must be noted and amplified that Palestinian President Abbas has condemned today’s attack. It would be a failure to note today’s condemnation yet ignore the fact that in recent weeks Abbas has contributed to the incitement by praising other terrorist perpetrators in Jerusalem as heroes.

While many in the Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim worlds have been quick to condemn today’s horror, some - notably Hamas - have chosen another route: praising and celebrating the murder of Jews in a house of worship. Today’s events underscore again that Hamas is a terrorist organization that celebrates the killing of innocent Jews and seeks the destruction of the state of Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu deserves praise for his actions in recent weeks and today to maintain the status quo on the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock. He has been resolute in his committment to reject any voices, even those in his own government, that would alter the status quo. We praise the swift efforts today to protect the safety and welfare of all synagogues, mosques, and churches to prevent acts of retaliation while ensuring the security of the Israeli people, Jewish and Arab alike. We join the voices of those who urge restraint from vigilante acts of retaliation amidst our grief and anger. Justice must come through the rule of law and the state, not by the hands of individuals acting outside the law. Those who aided and incited today’s attacks must be brought to justice.

Now is the time to lead our peoples away from the abyss of violence and despair and to renew efforts toward a better future. Even if it seems that the two-state peace we support is not possible right now, we reject steps that will make it harder to get there. We must restore hope of achieving a negotiated peace between the two parties by building economic cooperation, personal connections, and a constituency in both Israeli and Palestinian society prepared to make the hard choices ahead.

Sadly, it is events like this that serve as a horrible and tragic reminder that the only viable resolution to this conflict is a negotiated agreement between Israelis and Palestinians to establish two states sharing one homeland. Terrorism undermines the possibility of peace. The killing of innocent civilians can never be justified and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

JCRC is available for comment upon request.