The Reform Jewish Movement is appalled by the brutal assault on innocent Palestinians in and around their homes in Khirbet al-Mufkara, in the South Hebron Hills on September 29, 2021.
The horrific attack by dozens of masked West Bank settlers threatened Palestinians' lives and vandalized their property. The assailants wounded six innocent people, including a three-year-old child, whom they continued to attack while the child was inside the ambulance en route to the hospital. As rabbis, cantors , and Jewish leaders, we are deeply troubled not only by the fact of this attack itself but also that it took place on Simchat Torah when Jews around the world celebrate not only the renewal of the Torah cycle but also recognize that each of us is created in the image of the Divine (Genesis 1:27).
We commend Israeli Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid for issuing the following condemnation on the day of the attack: "This incident is horrific, and it is terror. This isn't the Israeli way, and it isn't the Jewish way. This is a violent and dangerous fringe, and we have a responsibility to bring them to justice, yet we know that this is not the first of such attacks, and we are deeply troubled by the increasing severity and frequency of such attacks."
However, the IDF is the ruling security authority in the West Bank, and this is not the first of such attacks -none of which resulted in arrests or indictments. We expect the new Israeli government and Defense minister Benny Gantz, as well as Internal Security Minister Omer Bar Lev, to thoroughly investigate the chain of events that led to the attack and its escalation, and to find all of those responsible for the attack.
The attack is a clear distortion of our Jewish religious and Zionist values, and anything less than its full condemnation is unacceptable. We demand that the Israeli government invest all necessary resources to prevent such horrendous attacks in the future and protect the lives of innocent civilians on all sides.
We share the words of Moses in the book of Numbers, as we pray for the healing and well-being of those injured innocent human beings.
אֵ֕ל נָ֛א רְפָ֥א נָ֖א לָהֶםּ׃
"O God, pray heal them!"
We hope and pray that Israel can live up to its highest values and, to the fullest extent of Israeli law, move forward with the prosecution of the assailants and to bring them to justice.
Union for Reform Judaism
Jennifer Brodkey Kaufman, Chair
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President
Central Conference of American Rabbis
Rabbi Lewis Kamrass, President
Rabbi Hara E. Person, Chief Executive
American Conference of Cantors
Cantor Claire Franco, President
Rachel Roth, Chief Operating Officer