International Federation of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists

Dear Friends of IRAC,

Yesterday, in the dead of night strangers entered a mosque in the Arab village of Tuba Zangaria in the upper Galilee. They sprayed graffiti in Hebrew and torched the mosque. The police have opened an investigation and already detained a few extreme right wing activists as suspects of the tag mechir, price tag operation. These operations consist of hurting Arabs and damaging their property as a reaction against harm caused to the settlements and settlers. It has already been strongly condemned by the prime minister and the heads of most of the major political parties.

This act is a sign of the escalating racism that IRAC has been fighting. Now, at long last, we are hearing more voices demanding that the government act vigorously against rabbis who incite to violence. Rabbis who are abusing their position to make such outrageous statements as "Every individual must imagine for himself what the enemy is plotting against us and must bestow the same fate on him". Another example is a book called Torat Hamelech, The King’s Torah, which states “From the verse ‘Do not murder’ it is impossible to derive a prohibition against the killing of a gentile.”

These provocations give rise to feelings of shame and rage. We are the only Jewish movement in Israel leading a tenacious struggle against these rabbis. A delegation of rabbis from our movement is being formed at this very moment to visit the village. But today, so near to Yom Kippur, we must do more. We must offer real practical help in repairing the mosque. We must help the community buy new carpets to replace the ones that were burnt. We must help them buy new Qua’rons instead of the many that were lost. We must help clear the damage caused by the fire, clean the site and repair the mosque. We have connections in the village and we know that the aid we will give will get to the right place.

There is a famous quote from Rabbi Salanter saying "As long as the candle is burning, there is still time to work and repair.” Our movement will fight the fire of extremism with the candle of tikkun, repair. I am honored to send the first check to Tuba Zangaria for the repair of the mosque. This is a religious act no less momentous than fasting on Yom Kippur. Please join us in a campaign to repair the damage and combat racism. If you are in the US click here  and donate to the Tuba Zangaria campaign. For all other countries click here. IRAC will designate all donations received during the High Holidays to the repairs of the mosque and our struggle against racism.

Gmar Chatima Tova,

Anat Hoffman

October 3, 2011

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