The Rabbis of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis UK join Jews worldwide in our deep concern for our brothers and sisters in Israel at this time of violent conflict. Torah commands us ‘do not stand idly by while the blood of your neighbour is being shed’ and two verses later ‘love your neighbour as yourself’. These verses apply to everyone in this fearful situation, both Israelis and Gazans, however hard this is to recognise in a time of war.
It is these neighbouring peoples who will have to make peace with each other in the future. We cannot stand idly by while Israel is attacked and must constantly support and care about all of the peoples of our Land. We also cannot stand idly by while Gazans of all political shades suffer the consequences of Hamas action. We offer our support to the peace makers at the grassroots and among the leadership of both societies and those who support them.
We are deeply concerned that once this particular struggle is over, and may that day be soon, unless there is real progress towards a long-term solution, Israelis and Palestinians will be doomed to an endless cycle of debilitating conflicts. Together we must work beyond the history which has divided us. We will always be living in the same neighbourhood. If we cannot turn hatred into love may we at least learn to be deeply concerned that the others’ blood must not be spilt.
Rabbi Mark Goldsmith, Chair on behalf of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis UK