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October 4, 2015 | 21st Tishrei 5776
On the Arson-Fire

The Union of American Hebrew Congregations
The Synagogue Arm of the Reform Movement

On the Arson-Fire that Destroyed a Reform Movement Kindergarten
September 2, 1997

We condemn the burning of the Reform kindergarten in Mevasseret Zion. We are appalled and saddened by this senseless act of violence.

We call on Israeli leaders, both religious and governmental, to denounce this attack in the strongest possible terms, and to aggressively pursue its perpetrators.

While those responsible for the arson attack cannot yet be identified, there is no doubt that wildly irresponsible and incendiary remarks by Orthodox officials have contributed to a climate of hate that makes such attacks possible. In the wake of the Rabin assassination, we had hoped--apparently to no avail--that religious and political leaders had come to understand the dangers of rash statements and inflammatory language.

We are particularly appalled by the remarks made on the Sunday prior to the bombing by Chief Rabbi Yisrael Lau, who compared Reform Jews to the suicidal Arab terrorists of Hamas, Hizbollah, and Islamic Jihad. Such words open the door to the grim possibilities of terror and violence.

Rest assured. We will not be deterred. The kindergarten will be reopened, and we will redouble our efforts to build Reform Judaism in Israel.

We remain committed to the dream of a Jewish State which unites the Jewish people wherever they may be found, a state in which Jews are respectful of their differences but united in their love of Zion and their commitment to a common Jewish destiny. During the coming Days of Awe, we beseech the leaders of Israel to promote Jewish unity and the partnership of the Jewish people, in the spirit of mutual respect and civility.


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