Concerning Ongoing Attacks From Gaza, Terrorism In Jerusaelm And Israel’s Quest For Peace

Resolution Adopted by the CCAR


Adopted by the 119th Annual Convention

of the Central Conference of American Rabbis

Cincinnati, Ohio

April, 2008



Since 2001, Israel has been the target of over 7000 rockets from outside its borders, with the purpose of indiscriminately killing Israeli civilians and disrupting normal life. Residents of Sderot, Ashkelon and many other communities have suffered loss of life, limb, and property resulting from attacks from within Gaza, the territory from which Israel had already withdrawn its presence.  Neither the Palestinian Authority nor any other nations have been willing or able to bring these attacks to an end.  Israel, doing its best to minimize the loss of innocents, responds to these military attacks with military action.  Too often, Israel is portrayed as the aggressor in the courts of world opinion and condemned for a “disproportionate response” for defending itself and doing what any other sovereign state would and must do to protect the lives and property of its citizens.


On March 9, 2008, the world witnessed yet another act of murderous terrorism with the attack on a major rabbinic school, Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva, in Jerusalem. Eight students were murdered and many others were wounded.  In the aftermath of this terrorist act, many rabbis spoke against vigilantism. Yet others have lashed out against Arabs in general, calling for acts of collective punishment, ruling that Jews should neither employ nor rent to Arabs, and going so far as to encourage acts of revenge and murder. Placards placed in Jerusalem and signed by eleven rabbis, prominent rabbis among them, read as follows:  “Each and everyone must imagine what the enemy is scheming to do to us and to match it measure for measure… Have no mercy for them because they have no mercy for you.” Plans were revealed which encouraged Jews to invade the Palestinian village of Jabal Mukabbar and demolish the house of the terrorist who killed the Merkaz Ha-Rav Yeshiva students. A member of the Israeli Cabinet was verbally and physically attacked, kicked and spat upon, called a “murderer” and a “traitor.”


Well we know that wars can be won on the battlefield, yet peace is only achieved through serious and sustained diplomacy and processes of negotiation. Such were the aims of the Peace Conference convened in Annapolis, Maryland in November of 2007 and are the continuing goals of the ongoing series of talks and negotiations which Secretary Rice is conducting even as the CCAR is holding its annual convention in Cincinnati.


1.  Condemns the continuing cowardly acts of terrorism in the form of the indiscriminate lunching of deadly rockets into populated areas of Israel. We insist that these attacks from Gaza be stopped, and call upon the Palestinian Authority and the nations of the world to do what it takes to bring to an end the Hamas reign of terror.  Moreover, we urge our members to give moral, spiritual and material support to all those in Israel whose normal lives have been shattered by the incessant attacks from Gaza and elsewhere.

  • Mourns the loss of the students murdered at Merkaz HaRav and pray for the complete healing of all those who are were left wounded and bereaved.  There can be no justification for such a heinous act; we condemn it and all other acts of terrorism.
  • Recognizes that anger, even hatred, against the perpetrators and supporters of terrorism is understandable. And yet, we deem as deplorable any acts of vengeance, retribution and collective punishment – and the incitement of such –and we condemn them as well.   As Pirke Avot teaches:  V’ayzehu gibor…hakovaysh et yitzro, “Who is strong?  One who conquers evil impulses.”
  • Commends President Bush, Prime Minister Olmert, President Abbas, Secretary of State Rice and all others who played a significant role in convening the Annapolis conference. We applaud enthusiastically the position espoused by Prime Minister Olmert and the Government of Israel, that the status quo is untenable and fraught with peril for Israel’s security, and that initiatives to move towards a peace that will enhance Israel’s security are urgently needed.
  • Supports strongly the stated position of the Government of Israel, that the Palestinians must meet their obligations under existing agreements, and that Israel will negotiate on all critical issues including settlements, borders, Jerusalem and refugees.