The leadership of the world’s largest stream of religious Judaism, the Reform/Progressive Movement, condemns the perpetrators of the recent hate crimes in Israel – and those who have helped to create a social and spiritual environment in which such deeds would even be contemplated, let alone condoned.

“The barbaric attack on a Palestinian family, including the murder of an 18-month old baby, is an act of terrorism and the State of Israel must respond to it using the same degree of strength and tenacity that it uses against those who attack Jews,” said Rabbi Lawrence Englander, President of ARZENU, the Zionist group representing 1.8 million Reform Jews around the world.

“For the attackers to include graffiti saying, ‘Long live Moshiach’ is a desecration of everything that Judaism stands for and we can only pray that the leaders of the group these people belong to will also be punished severely by Israel, but even that is not enough,” he said.

“For years we have heard that the Palestinian leadership has created an environment of hatred where peace is neither sought nor desired. However, we now see another example of how segments of Israeli society are fueling an atmosphere where Jewish criminals feel that they can act with impunity and without fear of punishment.

“This incident is not isolated. There have been more than a dozen similar attacks since 2012 – and yet, almost none of the perpetrators have been brought to justice. In a country with one of the best intelligence services in the world, this is impossible to understand or accept,” Rabbi Englander said.

“The same flames of intolerance and incitement shown by the Jewish terrorist are also in evidence in the fatal attack on Gay Pride marchers in Jerusalem recently. It is unacceptable for religious and political leaders to use hate-filled language that condemns Israeli citizens for seeking the basic human rights guaranteed them in Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

“We call on the Government of Israel to move beyond statements of regret to taking direct and strong action against individuals and groups, whether they are Muslim or Jewish, publisher or politician, in order to prevent any further growth in the current atmosphere of hatred and distrust. Any perpetrators who are found guilty must be punished to the full extent of the law,” Rabbi Englander concluded.

Arzenu August 12, 2015