Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef called on the government to work towards ending the massacre being committed by Syrian President Bashar Assad against his own people.
Rabbi Yosef said that Israel has a moral obligation to interfere in the events across its northern border and that this is no less important than the decision to destroy the Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007.
A statement released by the chief rabbi’s office said: “I have said in the past and I will say it again: What is happening in Syria is genocide of women and children in its cruelest form, using weapons of mass destruction.
“We have a moral obligation not to keep quiet and to try and stop this massacre.
As Jews who have experienced genocide, as Jews whose Torah is a light to the nations, it is our moral obligation to try and stop this murder. It is an obligation no less important than the moral obligation to destroy the nuclear reactor in Syria.”
This is not the first time that the chief rabbi has commented on the matter. During an interdenominational meeting a year and a half ago, Rabbi Yosef addressed the fighting going on in the Syrian city of Aleppo calling it a genocide.
He said: “Not far from here, as we sit here, Syrian men, women and little children are being massacred with chemical and biological weapons as well as by aerial bombardment. Thousands of refugees are left without a roof over their heads and hundreds of thousands more are under siege and are being subject to hunger. They are not our friends, but they are human beings who are undergoing a mini-Holocaust.”
‘Spoken as a true spiritual leader’
Describing Jewish suffering throughout history, Yosef said, “The people of Israel went through a terrible Holocaust 70 years ago. Millions of Jews were murdered; millions of others remained refugees without a safe haven. The Nazi beast murdered all those millions, while the world saw this and stayed silent. We, as Jews who physically paid the price for that silence, let out a cry all those years, asking how the world knew and stayed silent.”
“I want to take advantage of this stage to say that as Jews, we cannot be silent. Let the call come out of here: we cannot move on from genocide, not in Syria nor anywhere or with any people, even if they are not our friends.” He added that “we are all human beings. I call on you, leaders from all religions—lift up your voices. Let each person use their influence. If this happens, perhaps we will be able to prevent such atrocities.”
Yosef’s statement received unexpected support from Yesh Atid Leader Yair Lapid, who tweeted, “Though I have my disagreements with the Rishon Letzion (a nickname for the chief Sephardi rabbi of Israel), the things he said about Syria today are the words of a true spiritual leader.”