Shmuel Rabinowitz
Rabbi of Western Wall and Holy Sites of Israel

Do Not Dare Compare

Shabbat is not just a day of not working. It is a day of holiness and of external and internal quiet. A day in which we Jews disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and convene with ourselves, with our family, and our community. On Saturday, this blessed silence was shattered by the horrific sounds of gunfire coming from two neighborhoods in Jerusalem. Shooting at worshippers in a synagogue on Friday night and shooting at worshippers in the City of David on Shabbat morning.

There were those who have tried to compare the horrific murders by Palestinian terrorists with the IDF’s activity in Jenin this week in which terrorists were killed moments before they set out to carry out an attack against Israeli civilians. Could there be a more far-fetched comparison than this?! A comparison between terrorists who seek to take human life on the one hand, and peaceful worshippers who have not harmed anyone on the other? Between careful intelligence collection and pinpoint attacks on terrorists on the one hand, and indiscriminate firing into a holy place on the other? Between sorrow and worry for the wounded on the one hand, and celebrations on the street of a city, jubilation over spilled blood and the distribution of sweets on the other?!

There is no greater distortion than saying that these vile deeds were done in the name of faith in G-d. Belief in G-d commands humility and submission, the love of every human being created in the image of G-d, and the recognition of the holiness of life—the most wondrous tool the Creator has given us to join Him in doing good. None of this was present in the two vile murderous acts on Saturday in Jerusalem. Only violence, hatred and murderousness of the most inferior variety.

I call on leaders of all religions, especially leaders of Islam, to condemn and disapprove of the events on Shabbat, and to make it clear to believers who have strayed from the path what their faith is and what G-d requires of them.

About the Author
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz is the rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites of Israel, appointed to the position in 1995, by then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and the chief rabbis of Israel.
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