A letter to the members of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, Latrun:
Dear friends – Shalom and sincere greetings,
On behalf of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), our congregations around the country, our rabbis and our members, we wish to inform you of our profound shock at the attack on your monastery, including the daubing of hateful slogans on the walls. We stand by you and your community and wish you all the best at this difficult time.
As Jews and as Israeli citizens, it shames and angers us that those who committed this attack apparently did so while falsely claiming to be acting in the name of the Torah. This outrage desecrated your sanctuary, and no less so desecrated the sacred Jewish tradition and our faith in the one God, in whose image we were all created. The history of the Jewish people, and the fact that even today, Jews in Israel and around the world are subject to hate attacks against our synagogues and cemeteries, reinforce our shock at this act. The perpetrators seem to have deliberately chosen to ignore the passage where Hillel the Elder converted a man to Judaism, explaining to him that the entire Torah can be summarized in the rule: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.”
We have no doubt that the vast majority of the Jewish citizens of Israel are totally opposed to this attack and feel shamed by it. Nevertheless, we cannot ignore the fact that, in recent years, attacks on Muslim and Christian holy sites and places of worship have become almost routine. In the face of this intolerable phenomenon, Israeli society must bring itself to account and accept collective responsibility for the actions of extremists. We expect the Israeli law enforcement agencies to act diligently, not only in identifying and prosecuting those involved, but also in addressing the backdrop of support that is provided for such grave actions by rabbis, educators and public figures. Our feeling is that the authorities of the state have been negligent in this respect, and we feel obliged to act to correct this situation.
Alongside forceful action by the law enforcement agencies, we believe that this shameful act, which as noted is not the first of its kind, obliges Israeli citizens to present a proper alternative to hatred and hostility. For many years, your monastery has served as an emblem of coexistence and open doors. The most appropriate response to this despicable attack is to redouble our efforts to encourage different communities living in Israel to meet and to become acquainted with each other. Strengthening the common fabric of life for Jews and Arabs, and for the members of all faiths in the Holy Land, will be the best answer to those who seek to sow the toxic seeds of hatred between individuals and communities.
We in the Reform and progressive communities are committed to such action. Together, we believe that we can realize the prophet’s vision: “They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, but the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9).
We wish you all the best and pray for better and more peaceful days for all the inhabitants of this Land.
Rabbi Maya Leibovic Rabbi Gilad Kariv Anat Hoffman Adv. Yaron Shavit
Chairperson Executive Director Head Chairperson
Council of Reform & IMPJ IRAC IMPJ