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Religious leaders respond to conflict between Israel and Palestine

What the Israeli chief rabbi, Catholic bishops group and Muslim leaders have to say about the ongoing situation

An Israeli soldier stands guard next to an Iron Dome air defense system as smoke rises from an oil tank on fire after it was hit by a rocket fired from Gaza Strip, near the town of Ashkelon, Israel.
An Israeli soldier stands guard next to an Iron Dome air defense system as smoke rises from an oil tank on fire after it was hit by a rocket fired from Gaza Strip, near the town of Ashkelon, Israel.
Ariel Schalit, Associated Press

Internationally, tensions between Israel and Palestine continue to worsen. Domestically, the tension has caused deteriorating relationships between Jewish Israelis and Arab Israelis, CNN reports.

  • With no sign of tensions decreasing, Jewish, Catholic, and Muslim religious leaders have begun speaking out.

Response from the Israeli chief rabbi

On Wednesday, Israeli Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef issued a direct response to the violence erupting in mixed Jewish-Arab communities across Israel. In cities such as Jerusalem and Lod, among others, the overnight violence reached a point unseen in recent years, The Times of Israel reports.

  • “Innocent Israeli civilians are attacked by terror organizations, the blood runs hot and our hearts are outraged, the scenes are difficult to watch. But we mustn’t be dragged to provocations and to hurting people or harming property,” he said, according to The Times of Israel.
  • “The work of restoring order must be left to police,” he said. “We must be a light unto the nations, and not, God forbid, the opposite.”

Response from U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Also on Wednesday, a chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop David Malloy responded to the increased violence, too.

Bishop Malloy called all parties to stop the violence and killings, saying that such actions will only cause deeper divisions and destruction. He also supported the status quo for holy places, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque where an Israeli police raid took place on Monday.

  • “We call on all parties to cease the violence,” he said. “The maiming and killing of one’s neighbor only serves to demonize one’s adversary and deepen passions that divide and destroy.”
  • The bishop’s statement ended by offering prayers to all who consider the holy land their home and by affirming the need for international involvement to bring a just peace.

Response from international Muslim leaders

Earlier this week, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation held an emergency meeting to discuss the violence in Jerusalem, France24 reports. Following this meeting, the Muslim leaders issued a statement condemning Israel for the violence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and escalations in Jerusalem.

The organization reaffirmed its support for Palestinians and called on the international community to hold Israel responsible.