Mosque arson in Galilee
October 5, 2011
Something awful happened in Israel on Monday. Unknown assailants torched a mosque in the Galilee village of Tuba-Zangariya. Police report that the mosque was seriously damaged. Korans were burned.
Hebrew graffiti scrawled on the mosque suggests that Jewish extremists perpetrated the arson as part of an orchestrated campaign to deter the Israeli government from cracking down on radical settlers. Mosques in the West Bank, and even Israeli military compounds, have suffered similar attacks in recent months.
Here’s a taste of how NIF is reacting:
Tomorrow, Banish the Darkness -- an NIF-funded coalition -- is organizing a visit to Tuba-Zangariya to meet with the residents and with the imam of the mosque. Rabbis from across Israel, representatives of Jewish communities in the Galilee, and other dignitaries will take part. 19 organizations will be represented.
The message is simple: Burning a mosque is wrong. It’s not Jewish. It’s especially horrible that it happened during the Ten Days of Repentance. We should be using this time to reflect and to improve the world, not to sow division or to desecrate our neighbors’ holy places.
Thankfully, we’re not alone. Some of these messages have already been echoed by some of Israel’s most prominent figures, including President Peres who made the effort to go to Tuba-Zangariya.
NIF is also mobilizing globally to stand with those in Israel who are building a more peaceful future. Earlier today, we put out a call for rabbis everywhere to sign this statement condemning the violence and praising those Israelis who are standing up to racism.
Especially now -- in the midst of the High Holidays -- we need hundreds of rabbis to sign on. We must make clear that friends of Israel worldwide are determined to hold onto the vision of Israel enshrined in its Declaration of Independence: “Israel will… safeguard the sanctity and inviolability of the shrines and Holy Places of all religions.”
NIF is not just responding to the current crisis. We’re working day-in and day-out to combat racism and to build a strong Israeli society. After the media has packed up and gone home -- after everybody has forgotten about the small Galilee village of Tuba-Zangariya -- NIF will be there, just as we have been for years.
NIF knows that Jews and Arabs to live in partnership, all Israelis need to feel a sense of ownership for their society.
That's why Shatil -- NIF's action arm -- is pioneering an initiative called "Shared Society." We’re bringing together Israelis of different stripes -- Arab, Jewish, Ethiopian, Russian, Mizrachi (to name a few) -- to engage in meaningful dialogue and to plan joint activities. Israel shouldn’t just be a place where these communities get by living side-by-side. Israel should be a place where these communities thrive, where they work in concert as part of a truly shared nation.
It's about relationships. It's about trust. It's about forging partnerships.
That’s the type of work that NIF does.
New Israel Fund, CEO