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Shootings, Raids, Killings, and a Pogrom – Responding to Current Violence in Israel and Palestine

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The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and Reconstructing Judaism condemn the killings of Hallel and Yagel Yamiv, and Elan Ganeles by terrorists in the West Bank. We also condemn those who used these tragedies as an excuse to rampage through the Palestinian town of Huwara, burning homes and cars and killing at least one Palestinian man, Samah Hamdallah Aktas, in what can only be described as a pogrom. These vigilante revenge attacks, amounting to collective punishment, are indefensible and are contrary to Jewish values, Israeli and international law, and basic human decency. 

We believe these episodes and other outbursts of violence in recent days are largely the result of the Israeli government’s failure to prevent unacceptable violence and, indeed, the rhetoric of some members of the governing coalition that can only be seen as spurring it on. While hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens go out into the streets to protest the anti-democratic laws being proposed by the new government, the blood spilled in recent weeks in Jerusalem and other places in the West Bank reminds us all that there can be no democracy while there is an occupation and systemic inequality. All of us who believe in the dignity of all human beings – Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs alike — must condemn these acts of violence and redouble our efforts to support those striving to defend democracy and justice in the region.

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