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What do we believe in?

In the horrific documentation of the murderous terror attack in Be’er Sheva, there is one moment where you see the bus driver, Arthur Chaimov, calling to the terrorist over and over again to put down his weapon in an attempt to prevent another death. In contrast, the terrorist, with no hope left, continued to stab his bloody knife into additional innocent people.

Since that horrible event, our roads have been awash in the blood of innocent people. Fear and animosity have been rearing their ugly heads, trying to drag all the residents of this land into a maelstrom of bloodshed. As a person of faith, as a religious leader, I am not willing to accept the images of these lowly murderers as expressions of faith. Of any faith. I am not willing to accept the idea that the Creator of the Universe, Who graciously gave us our souls, wants us to take someone else’s soul.

The essence of faith is humility. The essence of faith is bowing our heads in the face of the Creator’s greatness. Faith entails the deep understanding of the mission we were given by G-d, to repair the world in the kingdom of G-d, a mission in which all human beings are partners.

The murderers from Beer Sheva, Hadera, and Bnei Brak were not people of faith. A person of faith cannot be full of hate. A person of faith cannot be a murderer. Not in Judaism. Not in Islam. Not in any religion. I call out to Muslim leaders: Is this the path of Islam? Is this the path taught to us by our shared forefather, Abraham?

For many years, Jews and Muslims lived side by side, learned from and taught one another. To where did the voice of peace embodied in the word “Islam” disappear? As people of faith, we must strive to find solidarity and peace. We are obligated to prevent any sort of violence or bloodshed. That is what I believe. That is the faith of the Jewish nation. It always has been and always will be.

This year, the holiday of Passover and the fast of Ramadan occur simultaneously. Jews and Muslims will ascend to Jerusalem and will pray just several meters from each other. After these bitter days, those days will be a real test for tens of thousands of Muslims, days in which you will face the simplest and clearest question of all: What do you believe in?

About the Author
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich 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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