Shmuel Rabinowitz
Rabbi of Western Wall and Holy Sites of Israel
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In honor of our common patriarch Abraham

A call from the rabbi of the Kotel to religious leaders of the communities of believers in Jerusalem: there is one father for all of us
Jerusalem religion images via iStock (montage by The Times of Israel)
Jerusalem religion images via iStock (montage by The Times of Israel)

These days, something is evident in the alleys of the Old City of Jerusalem. The Israel Police and Border Police patrol the city’s alleyways preparing for the three upcoming holidays: the Jewish Passover, the Muslim days of Ramadan, and the Christian Easter. These days are special days in Jerusalem. Days of exaltation and holiness. Days when believers of all faiths direct their hearts towards their Heavenly Father and seek ways to be more benevolent with themselves, others, and the whole world.

Painfully and sadly, on the fringe of hundreds of thousands of honest-hearted believers are those who seek to translate the uplifting fervor into dark violence. Thus, alongside the intensive preparations to welcome the tens of thousands of pilgrims, we are forced to devote a lot of time and resources to maintaining their safety. In recent years, we have witnessed a worrying increase in the number of acts of violence that, under the auspices of the holy days, desecrate both the sanctity of time and the sanctity of the place.

On Passover, we celebrate liberation from slavery to freedom, breaking the violent cycle of oppressors and oppressed, and its conversion into voluntary devotion to values, morality and doing good. These days, it is our duty to cleanse from within us any sliver of violence or use of force. We must dedicate these great days of freedom to removing the shackles of the past and to extending to each other a hand of reconciliation and solidarity among believers, in the Old City of Jerusalem and in the entire Land of Israel.

I would like to call from here to the religious leaders of the communities of believers in Jerusalem – there is one father for all of us, our patriarch Abraham, who was blessed and commanded “And all the families of the earth are blessed in you.” G-d forbid we turn the blessing into a curse, and the holy city into a bloody field. We must do everything we can to add love, solidarity, and peace these days in honor of our patriarch Abraham, in honor of our faiths, and in honor of Jerusalem.

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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