Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger on Monday visited the Palestinian village Yasuf to protest the torching of the village's mosque. Dozens of residents of the village received the rabbi in protest.
They waved Palestinian and PLO flags and signs against the West Bank settlements written in Hebrew, English, and Arabic.
The visit was arranged by Salfit Governor Munir al-Abushy, and was coordinated with the IDF. In addition, dozens of Palestinian police officers secured the rabbi's entourage.
"I hope this visit calms the spirits in the village," said al-Abushy, "the local residents will understand that there are good people in Israeli society, and that even religious figures condemn this action – it's sending a good message."
The governor noted that he believes "the land belongs to two peoples, who will live on it in two states once the Palestinian one is established – with the help of god."
Rabbi Metzger in Yasuf village (Photo: Kobi Nahshoni)
Rabbi Metzger stressed that his visit was not meant to disturb the rehabilitation of the mosque, and that quite the contrary he was there to encourage the locals and expressed hope the renovation work will be completed in time for Friday prayers.
While standing at the doorstep of the burned down mosque, Rabbi Metzger condemned the arson and said, "We, the people of Israel, have a trauma from 70 years ago when the greatest destruction we have ever known, the Holocaust, started with the burning of synagogues on Kristallnacht."
The Rabbi further added that according to his views, holy places do not belong to people, but are rather ex-territorial places, which he dubbed "god's embassies."
In accordance with his stance, Rabbi Metzger said that "places of prayer must not be attacked, but must also not pose as breeding grounds for incitement or as hiding places of terrorists and weapons."
At the end of his speech, the Rabbi thanked al-Abushy for his "reception and hospitality". He also thanked the Palestinian officers for their escort.