Attacks in Israel condemned

August 2, 2015 by J-Wire Staff
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Israel and the Jewish world were shocked by two incidents on Thursday and Friday last week in which a Palestinian child died when his home was firebombed by suspected Jewish terrorists and six people became victims of a vicious knife attack during a Gay parade in Jerusalem.

From the Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky:

Natan Sharansky  pic: The Jewish Agency

Natan Sharansky pic: The Jewish Agency

“Terror is terror, and it makes no difference whatsoever if the victims are Jews or Arabs. Everyone has an equal right to live their lives free of the threat of senseless violence. But, as Jews, we expect more of our own, and we cannot accept that some despicable individuals have risen from our midst to carry out acts of terrible violence against others.”I join the rest of the State of Israel and the Jewish people in extending my deepest sympathies to the victims of these two attacks, and in expressing my determination that the perpetrators be brought to justice swiftly and uncompromisingly.”

From Robert Goot, president of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry:
Robert Goot   Photo: David Sokol

Robert Goot Photo: David Sokol

“The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the elected representative body of the Australian Jewish community, is saddened, appalled and outraged by the heinous crime that took the life of Ali Saad Dawabsha, an 18 month old infant boy from Duma, south of Nablus in the West Bank.

It is understood that in the early hours of the morning of Friday July 31, Jewish extremists carried out an arson attack on two buildings. One building was unoccupied, while in the other building, slept the Dawabsha family. Ali Saad could not be rescued and died in the attack while his 4-year-old brother and parents were evacuated to an Israeli hospital having suffered moderate-to-serious burns.

While the perpetrators of this cowardly and barbaric crime remain at large, the character of the attack is clear. This was an act of terror which has left an infant boy dead and shattered the lives of a young family. Nothing can excuse or mitigate the outrageous criminality of this incident. The perpetrators have brought shame upon themselves and have repudiated the sacred values of Judaism, which uphold the sanctity of human life, especially the life of a child, above all other values.

We have every confidence that all means available to the Israeli criminal justice system and the Israel Defence Forces will be swiftly mobilised to bring the killers to justice.

We welcome the swift and severe condemnation of this terrible crime by:

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has called the attack “a heinous, horrific act… which is a terrorist attack in every respect”;

  • the Israel Defence Forces, who have characterized the incident as a “barbaric act of terrorism”, as their personnel are deployed throughout the West Bank in search of the perpetrators; and
  • the leader of the Yesh Atid Party, Yair Lapid, who has said that “he who burns a Palestinian baby declares war on the State of Israel.” 
The arson and murder attack occurred at the approach of the Jewish Sabbath. In synagogues throughout Israel and the Jewish world, prayers have been offered for the soul of the murdered infant boy and for strength and solace for those who survive him. 
We extend the traditional Jewish blessing to the family of Ali Saad Dawabsha. May they be blessed with long life and receive comfort from the Almighty. May they know strength in this unimaginably difficult time and recover fully in body and in soul.

A purportedly religious Jewish extremist has been arrested in connection with the attack. That person was released from prison three weeks ago, after serving a ten year sentence for a similar attack. We have confidence that the Israeli Justice system will deal with him appropriately.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families. We wish all the injured a speedy recovery. Israel is known for its welcoming acceptance of Jews of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity, and for providing asylum to Palestinian gays who are in mortal danger from their own community.

Israel is a beacon to other nations, not just in the Middle East, but throughout the work in its inclusion of the LGBTI community and its embracing of diversity.

This incident hits at the heart of the freedoms and social inclusion that we promote and welcome in the Jewish community in Australia and in Israel. We must all condemn this attack and increase our focus on promoting inclusion, tolerance and acceptance of every member of our community.

We are appalled and shocked by the knife attack at the Pride March in Jerusalem where six people were stabbed. We understand that two of them are in a critical condition. The Jewish community in Australia condemns the attack in the strongest possible terms, and we are pleased to see statements from Jewish community and religious leaders across the world expressing outrage at the attack.

From Jennifer Huppert, president of The Jewish Community Council of Victoria on the knife attack: “The attack in Jerusalem is a despicable act.  Bigotry, intolerance and hatred are not acceptable in any community, here, in Israel or anywhere.  We join with the ECAJ in condemning this terrible incident, which demonstrates where hate can lead.  Everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity should feel free and safe in their daily lives.”

From the Zionist Federation of Australia:
The Zionist Federation of Australia is profoundly saddened and distressed by the violent atrocities that have taken place in and around Jerusalem over the past 72 hours.

The knife attack against participants in the Gay Pride parade this past Thursday was an unconscionable act of evil. This incident also constitutes a stark reminder that more vigilance is needed as the perpetrator was recently released after a 10-year prison sentence for an identical offence.

The Zionist Federation is confident that the continuing freedom of expression of sexual orientation and protection of such human rights in Israel will not be undermined by this senseless act of violence.

Even more abhorrent – because it involved the death of a child – was the arson attack carried out early Friday morning by suspected Jewish terrorists against the Arab village of Douma in Samaria. Eighteen month-old Ali Saad Doubasa died of burn injuries inflicted when masked cowards threw firebombs through the windows of two homes. The infant’s father, mother and four-year-old brother were also seriously injured and are being treated in the burn unit of the Sheba Medical Centre in Tel Aviv.

Let there be no uncertainty about where the ZFA stands in relation to both these terrible incidents. We join Prime Minister Netanyahu and the entire body politic in Israel in condemnation of these craven acts of criminal violence. We support Israel in showing no tolerance for intolerance.

We expect that the as yet unidentified perpetrators of the arson attack and the individual arrested in connection with the knife attack are brought to justice without delay and express our deepest sympathy and hope for recovery to the victims.

From Dr Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission:

The B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) has condemned in the strongest possible terms an arson attack by suspected Israeli extremists on a Palestinian home in the West Bank that killed a one-and-a-half year-old boy and injured three family members. Prime Minister Netanyahu condemned the killing as “a terror attack in every way” and phoned Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, stating “We must fight terrorism together regardless of which side it comes from.”

Dr Abramovich said: “We are horrified and anguished by this abominable act of evil that desecrates every Jewish value that we hold dear. Such shocking extremism, violence and unbridled hatred have no place in Israeli society and must be rooted out. We trust that Israel’s law enforcement agencies will do everything in their power to swiftly arrest the perpetrators of this murderous assault and that they receive the harshest prison sentence possible if found guilty. We extend our sympathies and condolences to the family of Ali Dawabsha, and pray for their speedy and full recovery.”

Chairman of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council Mark Leibler and executive director Dr Colin Rubenstein said: “AIJAC condemns in the strongest terms last night’s arson of two homes in the Palestinian village of Dura in the West Bank, which claimed the life of 18-month-old Ali Darawshe. Evidence at the scene reportedly suggests the involvement of Jewish extremists who had carried out a so-called “price tag” attack.

Terrorism is inherently vile and a moral outrage, and must be uprooted regardless of who perpetrates it. According to reports, Israeli authorities have launched a major manhunt to bring to justice not only those directly responsible for this attack, but those dangerous extremists who associate and conspire with them.
We join Israel’s Prime Minister in his call for the Israeli security agencies to swiftly carry out their investigative work towards speedily bringing those responsible to justice for this heinous act of terrorism.
The Australian Jewish community shares in the sorrow of the Darawshe family and wishes a quick recovery to the injured.
From Irving Wallach president ofNIFAustralia: “The news out of Israel is getting worse. The stabbings of six marchers in Friday’s Jerusalem Pride Parade was followed by the news that a Palestinian baby was burned to death in the West Bank — a victim of an act of arson, apparently carried out by Jewish zealots.The death of the 18-month old child — Ali Saad Dawabsheh — is senseless. It is heartbreaking.

It is also enormously frustrating: There have been hundreds of attacks targeting Palestinians and their property, as well as Christian and Muslim holy sites, by Jewish extremists. And Israeli law enforcement authorities have yet to properly confront this threat.

NIF was established to protect Israeli democracy, through support for Israelis working to build an Israel where racism is never condoned, an Israel where hate crimes are punished, an Israel that lives up to the best of Jewish and humanistic values. We support Israeli grassroots, human rights, and advocacy organizations that refuse to accept Israel’s drift towards nationalist extremism.

Their efforts are supported by lovers of Israel worldwide. Just last week, thousands of people wrote to Israel’s Attorney General pressing him to act, and noting that the desecration of more than 43 churches, mosques, and monasteries in Israel and the West Bank had not resulted in a single indictment.

And indeed, in the wake of that call, news broke Wednesday that an indictment had been filed against two suspects in one of these arson attacks.

Does this indictment signify that Israeli authorities are starting to take the threat posed by these Jewish terrorists seriously? We don’t know. We do know, however, that it did not come in time to prevent last night’s murder.

Now is a time of soul searching. While Israeli leaders from across the political spectrum have condemned the violence, many Israelis are calling for their leaders to do more. They are saying that elegant words posted to Facebook in the wake of violence are not enough, especially if these sentiments are out of step with the rhetoric heard every other day of the year.

Leaders cannot signal, year after year, that Israel exists only for its Jewish citizens, or even only for the Jewish citizens who comply with a narrow, ultra-nationalist interpretation of Zionism, and then be shocked when extremists feel free to carry this xenophobia further, and attack Palestinians or gay Israelis.

These Israelis who today are pressing for their leaders to behave more responsibly, give me hope even in the darkest of moments.

So, before I close, I wanted to share with you this image of a rally held in Jerusalem, where hundreds of Israelis gathered to protest against the violence, and to pray together for the speedy recovery of the injured. The sign’s text reads, “Homophobia and racism are the same form of violence.”

These Israelis are building a better future. I will always stand with them. I know you do too.

May we see better days soon!”

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