President Shimon Peres, Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger Shlita and Chief Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar Shlita on Monday visited Tuba el-Zangaria, the community in the Galil in which a mosque was targeted in an arson attack earlier in the day.
Rabbi Amar decried the act, but told reporters that we must use caution, explaining at present we do not know who was responsible for the act, adding we are not even certain it was a Jew as is believed to be the case. “The graffiti outside is not proof, as we know people do things like this. Whatever the case, whoever did this simply crossed a red line. There are international standards and one does not target a house of worship.
“We are opposed to an act that just promotes hate. This type of action only results in damage. There is simply no benefit to such an unacceptable act.
“I spoke to the president this morning, and we decided that it is fitting for the chief rabbis and the president to come to the scene, to express their disgust with the action, to send a clear message to all that such actions are totally unacceptable.”
He warned the media however not to be too hasty by pointing a finger at Jews. He reminded the tzibur of the blood libels, and to what extent our enemies will go to strike out against us, recommending that we wait to see what the police investigation reveals.
When asked if the perpetrator has a din of rodef, telling the Rav that Aryeh Deri made such a statement earlier in the day, the Rav stated that while the actions of those responsible have resulted in significant damage to the Jewish People, he does not feel that the perpetrator is to be classified as a rodef insofar as one has to kill him – emphasizing this is not the case here.
Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger stressed that specifically the Jews are obligated to be sensitive and meticulous in their relations with other religions. “70 years ago our Synagogues and Torah scrolls were burnt. We cannot allow something like this to happen to any other religion. The Mosque, like a synagogue and church are embassies of G-d, and as a result must not be harmed.”
President Shimon Peres said to Sheikh Muhmad Ciwan, who hosted the delegation, and to the hundreds of villagers, who were at the Mosque during the visit: “I am filled with shame for this hateful act. I came here, to this burnt Mosque, and I am shocked to the depths of my soul. This is desecrating the holy. One cannot put up with this abomination and I believe that there is not one Israeli who is not ashamed by this arson attack. This evil act is not only against the law; it is against Judaism, morality and spirit. We will not rest and will not be silent until we apprehend the culprits and they will be punished.”
The President warmly thanked the Chief Rabbis and other religious leaders for joining him on the visit to the Mosque and for the forceful and unanimous criticism for this crime.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)