Following the religious violence on Tuesday, at the Latrun Monastery, near Ramla, I issued the following press release on behalf of ICCI and JCJCR , which was mentioned on the news of Kol Yisrael (2nd station) and on Israeli Army Radio yesterday and the day before:
September 4, 2012, Jerusalem
On behalf of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI) and the Jerusalem Center for Jewish Christian Relations (JCJCR), we denounce the attack on the Latrun monastery. This is a hillul hashem, a desecration of the name of God.
As people who seek peaceful coexistence and mutual respect between Jews, Christians and Muslims in this land, we condemn such wanton acts of violence against people of other religions.
At the same time, we rededicate ourselves to educating for tolerance and mutual understanding which can increase the possibility of living together in peace and harmony in this land.
In addition, I visited the monastery yesterday with Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman, co-chairperson of ICCI and Rabbi of Kol HaNeshama, and a delegation of Reform rabbis and congregants from all over Israel (see this link for video and photos) to express solidarity with the monks who live there and saw the desecration of their monastery with my own eyes. At this visit we recited verses from the traditional “confession” of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and prayed for peace. I felt that the monks were genuinely moved by our visit.
In addition, representatives of ICCI joined the “Tag Meir” coalition (a Hebrew pun on “Tag Mehir”, “Price Tag”) demonstration with about 200 people from many different organizations to shed some positive light and hope on the situation. We are committed to keeping hope alive in our difficult situation in Israel.
Furthermore, tonight, ICCI and JCJCR will co-sponsor a public symposium with the ICCJ and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung entitled “Changes in Jewish-Christian Relations in the West: What Do They Mean for Jewish-Christian Relations in the Holy Land?” in which we will continue to raise of voice for peaceful coexistence with our Christian and Muslim neighbors in Israel, and we will recommit ourselves to educating for mutual understanding and reconciliation in our country and our region.
Religious-inspired hatred has become a plague in our society. ICCI is developing a new program to begin to heal hatred. More on this on another occasion.
Rabbi Ron Kronish
Director, ICCI and JCJCR