URJ Calls for Sincere Political Negotiations and An End to the Escalating Violence in Jerusalem

Without a political horizon that will lead to a just solution for both peoples, and without the Israeli and Palestinian leadership coming together to sincerely engage in negotiations that will lead out of this cycle of violence, the violence will continue

Contact: Lauren Theodore at 212-650-4154

New York, NY; October 5, 2015 -- On behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), President Rabbi Rick Jacobs released the following statement advocating for peaceful negotiations as a way to end the escalating violence in Jerusalem:

At a time when the Jewish people around the world are celebrating the wonder of the Torah, of the time when darkness became light, the escalating violence in Jerusalem's Old City and the West Bank causes us great concern. We hope and pray that the holy city of Jerusalem and all of its inhabitants also find light to overcome the darkness.

We mourn with the families of Eitam and Naama Henkin and Nehemia Lavie and Aharon Benita, all of whom lost their lives in assassinations in recent days. We pray for the well-being of Adele Benita, Aharon Benita's wife, who was wounded in the attack, and their two-year-old son, also lightly wounded, and for the Henkin children who were orphaned when their parents were killed brutally before their eyes.

The response to such barbarism is far from clear, although it cannot remain unchallenged. What is clear, however, is that matching hatred with hatred, racism with racism, is both wrong and ineffective; it only leads to more revenge and more chaos.

This is a dangerous moment. The region, and Jerusalem in particular, seem to be poised for even greater violence. This is a moment that calls for clear and courageous leaders. Legalizing more Jewish settlements, as ministers in Prime Minister Netanyahu's government are demanding, solves nothing, and makes progress toward a solution that much less likely. We are equally dismayed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's call to abrogate the Oslo Agreement with Israel. Without a political horizon that will lead to a just solution for both peoples, and without the Israeli and Palestinian leadership coming together to sincerely engage in negotiations that will lead out of this cycle of violence, the violence will continue and deepen. 

We echo the words of the Psalmist as we pray for the peace of Jerusalem.