(New York, NY, June 5, 2002) - Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, president of the Reform Movement's Union of American Hebrew Congregations, expressed his outrage, revulsion, and disappointment today after learning of the car bomb that was detonated in northern Israel Wednesday morning. The car detonated next to a crowded bus, killing at least sixteen Israelis and wounding many more. Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the bombing, claiming, "Our aim is to fight the Israeli occupation." The attack came at a particularly critical time, as CIA Director, George Tenet, and Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East, William Burns, are in the region attempting to negotiate a cease-fire. Rabbi Yoffie responded to the incident with the following comments:
"The grotesque use of deadly violence targeting innocent civilians, which has become a defining element of the Palestinian uprising, is revolting and reprehensible. Regardless of rationale, violence will not achieve peace. Our hearts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and their friends.
While some may see this afternoon's bombing as a devastating blow to the Tenet/Burns mission that has appeared so promising, today's events, in fact, only prove, yet again, that we cannot stand idly by in hopes that the status quo will prevail. The United States must remain steadfastly persistent in its goal of negotiating a cease-fire, and ultimately, a settlement based on a two-state solution."