Rabbis call for immediate truce in Gaza
Dozens of members of Rabbis for Human Rights organization issue letter urging all those involved in fighting to work for immediate, comprehensive ceasefire in Gaza Strip, southern Israel. 'The sanctity of life is a supreme value in Jewish tradition,' letter says
In a letter issued Monday, the rabbis wrote, "We, dozens of male and female rabbis who are members of the Rabbis for Human Rights organization, would like to express our shock over the bloodshed on both sides, and grieve the death of hundreds of people – half of them civilians – and the injury of thousands in the Gaza Strip and in Israel.
"The Mishna teaches that 'whoever destroys a single soul is considered as if he had destroyed the whole world, and whosoever saves one soul is considered as if he had saved a whole world.' Hurting any person is equal to hurting the first person on whom all of mankind's existence relies on."
"We would like to remind you that the sanctity of life is a supreme value in Jewish tradition, and we hope a ceasefire will be obtained soon and will pave the way to a comprehensive and just permanent agreement, which will allow all of the region's residents to live their lives in dignity and peace."
Rabbi Arik Asherman, director of Rabbis for Human Rights, told Ynet, "We issued the letter because of the feeling of 'where are we headed as a human rights organization?', as we can't sit idly by while there's a war going on."
According to Asherman, "Jewish tradition refers to commandments between man and man, but this does not only mean our brothers the Jews. In the Lord's eyes, every human being is created in God's image, and not only Jews were created in his image. We are the 'chosen people' in the Torah because we were chosen for a specific mission, but not because we are better than others."
The rabbis who signed the letter include Yehoshua Engleman, Yoav Ende, Miri Gold, Stuart Geller, Tamar Duvdevani, Avi Novis Deutsch, Zvi Weinberg, Moshe Yehudai, Chaim Cohen, David Lazar, Yehiel Grenimann, Arik Asherman and others.