President Shimon Peres
said Sunday that the entire Israeli nation must condemn Thursday night's arson
at a mosque in the West Bank village of Yasuf.
"If we don't respect other people's religions, no one will respect our own religion," Peres said during a Hanukkah
candle lighting event with outstanding police officers at the President's Residence in Jerusalem.
"The day before yesterday," Peres said, "we witnessed one of the most dreadful attempts to set our region on fire. The entire country must stand against this horrible attempt, and this is your great task."
Rabbis and Palestinians meet at Tapuach Junction (Photo: Ido Erez)
He added that "in the existing reality, the police are required to act in cases of hooliganism and incitement against the State's authority for political or ideological reasons.
"If we don't have one army which takes its orders from one source and which is built on a string of commands," he said, "we won't be able to move forward as a people."
Earlier Sunday, rabbis met
with residents of the Palestinian village at the Tapuach Junction and gave them Koran books.
Governor of the Salfit region, Munir Abbushi, told the rabbis, "The torching of the mosque was a racist act. We are in favor of true peace, and I thank you for coming to identify with us on the torching I hope we can live in this country as two states."
Abbushi also criticized the Israeli army for failing to prevent the act. "There are people in the village calling for revenge, but they are the minority," he said. "We are a national movement and not a religious one, and all we want is a Palestinian state."