The Shameful Silence of the Rabbis

The painful Op-Ed, Israeli Terrorists, Born in the U.S.A., appeared in the New York Times and is one which needs to be read by all Israelis. We are guilty of over-looking the terrorism of young religious Jewish extremists encouraged by their Orthodox rabbis and yeshiva teachers to begin a crusade of damage, destruction and even death to Christians
and Muslims living in our country.

These young, mainly American extremists should be arrested and accorded the same punishment which is meted out to Arab terrorists. They should be lashed, imprisoned, their parents heavily fined and possibly the demolition of their homes. If this is our policy for Arab terrorists, al achat kama v’kama should it not be the same for Jewish terrorists.

I accuse the ultra-Orthodox rabbinate of being complicit in these waves of terror and destruction. I condemn many of the American Orthodox rabbis who choose to remain silent. We Jews accused the German people of being silent when they witnessed the brutal treatment of their fellow Jews. Shall we not accuse American Jews of being silent while witnessing the brutal treatment of innocent non-Jews? Churches and monasteries are burned. Hundreds of holy books are destroyed. Grafitti is sprayed on the walls of those holy places with yeshiva messages of “no idolators are allowed to live in Israel. Long live the Messiah, King of the Jews”.These are not the slogans of the Chabad movement which welcomes every Jew and respects the traditions of non-Jews and who serve bravely in our military forces as proud religious Zionists.

How many rabbis here in Israel and abroad preached sermons of condemnation against the burning alive of an 18 month old Arab baby and causing the death to his parents when they threw a Molotov cocktail into the family’s home? American rabbis are overly-cautious lest God forbid they offend the sensitivities of some congregants.

As a non-Orthodox rabbi and a loyal citizen of the State of Israel I cannot and will not remain silent. My voice cries to heaven for justice, for tolerance, for righteousness. If our rabbis cannot fulfill the essence of those words it is incumbent upon us, ordinary Israeli citizens, to act.

Let us not be found guilty of silence. The American ultra-Orthodox Jewish terrorists must be punished for their non-Jewish acts. We must remove from them hatred, racism and bigotry and involve them in the social welfare of good Israeli citizens who seek righteousness for all. V’im lo achshav, aimatai

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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