Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Rabbi Froman: Coexistence possible
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin

Rabbi Froman: Judaism opposes mosque arson

Rabbi visits mosque Palestinians claim was torched, says he will bring settlers to help rebuild it

Rabbi Menachem Froman of the Tekoa settlement paid his respects Wednesday to a mosque in Lubban al-Sharqiya village in the West Bank, along with envoys from around the world, despite a police announcement that it had not been torched.


"The torching of a mosque, according to Jewish halacha, is equal to the torching of a synagogue. I will bring dozens of settlers to repair the burnt mosque," he said.  

Worshipper at burnt mosque (Photo: Reuters)


Despite the police's conclusions, many Palestinians still blame settlers for the mosque's demise. A number of Palestinians stated this claim at a meeting there Wednesday.


Froman, who was invited to attend the meeting by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, spoke for almost an hour. He told all those present that he believes in coexistence and the two-state solution.


"In the Palestinian state Jewish settlers and Arab residents will live side by side. Just as there 20% of the population of Israel is Arab, there will be a 20% population of Jews in Palestine and this will be a bridge for peace," he said.


"Damaging a mosque is tantamount to damaging a synagogue. This is what I learned from a rabbi at a young age. Judaism rejects damaging any holy place, no matter what religion."


Later the rabbi told Ynet, "I was surprised to be invited, because the Palestinian Authority is currently conducting a campaign against the settlers, their products, and now even the Palestinian workers who work at the settlements, not to mention the international front, in which they are unwilling to proceed."


Froman reasoned that he had probably been invited to speak as message of hope for a Palestinian state. "They understand that the negotiations are stuck and that the Americans aren't getting them anywhere, and maybe they really want to pave a new path," he said.


The rabbi also offered his hosts help repairing the mosque. "I told them I'm no smarter than the police and that I don't know who did it. They are of course convinced it was arson. But I clarified that in any case Judaism opposes such acts and that once the investigation ended I would bring by a few dozen settlers in work clothes to help rebuild the mosque," he said.


Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad visited the village on Wednesday and said his government would take it upon itself to restore and renovate the mosque that residents say was torched by settlers.


Fayyad called the incident an act of terror, and said the restoration will be complete by the end of the month.


Fayyad demanded the global community provide the Palestinians with international protection from the settlers' crimes: "The escalation in terror attacks by settlers, along with the expansion of settlements in the occupied territories, and particularly in Jerusalem, attest to a real threat posed on our people and their property by the settlement policy, and this proves the crucial need for the international community to protect our people, and we expect the international community to do its part in the matter."


פרסום ראשון: 05.05.10, 19:09
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