Statement About the Ongoing Israeli-Palestinian Violence

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum and Rabbi Marisa James's Statement About the Ongoing Israeli-Palestinian Violence (May 13, 2021 at 5pm ET)

We have been watching with increasing grief and anger as once again, our Israeli and Palestinian friends are running for cover from bombs and mourning losses that should never have happened.

Even as we write this, we know that more losses are adding up, that more communities are facing roving bands of violent Israeli and Palestinian attackers smashing up stores, synagogues and mosques, and even individuals, that many Israelis are spending hours in bomb shelters and flinching at every siren, that many Palestinians have little or no protection against rockets falling, whether in Gaza or in Israel.

We mourn with every family that has lost a loved one, or that will lose a loved one. We send blessings for healing of body and spirit to all who are wounded. We are horrified by the continued escalations. We're furious that Hamas pours their resources into rockets targeting Israelis (including the 20% of Israeli citizens who are Palestinian), while doing nothing to protect their own people. We're deeply frustrated that Prime Minister Netanyahu only feeds the fires of right-wing Jewish Israeli rage rather than speaking or acting against it.

We're devastated by the lack of senior leaders anywhere—whether Israeli or Palestinian—working consistently to change the status quo and bring real, just solutions. We pray daily that all of the violence will end, and that those working towards a future of justice and peace will be strengthened.

No short statement can fully address the history and dynamics that have lead to this moment. It’s important to build a deeper understanding of how the occupation works, and how the combined powers of Hamas and the right-wing Israeli political parties create and benefit from these times of crisis and trauma. And we are deeply grateful for the Israelis and Palestinians who have been working for decades to change the status quo, who continue to invite their neighbors to join them in bringing real justice and peace to all who live in the place that so many of us call holy.

Now as always, we stand with all those who see the tzelem elohim—the divine holiness—of each of their neighbors, we stand with all those whose compassion extends beyond their own tribes, and we send blessings for healing and wholeness to Israelis and Palestinians and those who love them, no matter where they are.