July 31, 2015

As we prepare for Shabbat we learn of two horrific terrorist attacks in Israel. Neither were perpetrated by our traditional enemies. To our shame, these savage acts were the actions of Jews.

The first was a knife attack during a Gay pride parade. The attacker who gravely injured 6 innocents had just been released from prison. Unbelievably, the crime for which he had served a 10 year sentence was for attacking the same parade a decade earlier. He is unrepentant.

The second horrific attack was perpetrated in the Palestinian village of Douma. Firebombs were thrown into two homes by masked Haradi (ultra-Orthodox) men, who took the time to identify their cause in graffiti: “Revenge” and “Long live king messiah” were written in Hebrew alongside a Star of David. This showed the evil perpetrators to be acting as part of the “Price Tag” movement – extremist settlers who use violence against Palestinians to settle scores. They are unrepentant.

Ali Saad Sawabsha, an 18 month old toddler, was killed in this vicious attack. All of his family were hospitalized with severe burn wounds. Their pain is our shame.

Along with every Israeli leader of every political position, we condemn these acts of terror and are ashamed that some extremist Jews have descended to such barbarity. We call on the Israeli government to fulfill their pledge to bring these criminals to justice. Further we call for a deep examination of the circumstances that have allowed this kind of home grown terrorism to exist. We cannot create a secure Israel while lawless terrorists operate – perhaps with the encouragement of some extremist Jewish leaders. This is an evil which must be rooted out.

We have just completed the Jewish commemoration of Tisha B’av – the day of lamentation for our lost Temple and lost history. This Shabbat, which should be a Shabbat of Comfort, we continue our lament. We pray for the victims and we pray that no one will pay the price of terrorism.