Jewish and Muslim religious leaders visit members of Dawabsha family in hospital

Ahmed's younger sibling Ali was killed in the attack which also critically injured the boys’ parents who are being treated at the same hospital.

August 3, 2015 23:13
2 minute read.

Hebrew grafitti at the Dawabsha family home in Duma where a fire engulfed the house after a molotov cocktail was thrown at it. (photo credit: ZAKARIA, RABBIS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS)

A delegation of Jewish and Muslim religious leaders convened on Monday outside the Department of Pediatric Intensive Care at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, to pray for the well-being of the victims of the Jewish terror attack in the Palestinian village of Duma Friday morning, including Ahmed Dawabsha, the four-year-old child who was seriously burned.

Ahmed’s younger sibling Ali was killed in the attack that also critically injured the boys’ parents who are being treated at the same hospital.

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The gathering of religious leaders was the initiative of former Israeli government minister Rabbi Michael Melchior, head of The Mosaica Center for Inter-Religious Cooperation, together with Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Aryeh Stern, and Rabbi Rafi Feuerstein and Rabbi David Stav, founders of the Tzohar rabbinical association.

The group was also joined by Sheikh Abdullah Nimar Darwish, founder of the Islamic Movement and head of the Adam Center for Interfaith Dialogue.

The meeting began with a candid conversation on the need for strong condemnation of terror incidents from both sides and enhanced co-religious dialogue beyond times of crisis, and culminated in the recitation of Psalms by the rabbinical delegation.

“This was a terrible crime so leading rabbis and Islamic leaders of this country have come together to say that we will not accept any kind of violence, murder or anything else, against anybody,” said Melchior.

“We need to find ways to talk together and this was the resolution of the meeting today – that the leading rabbis and sheikhs find new ways to live together in this holy land.”

Feuerstein described the initiative as a means to “jointly condemn an evil act of murder of an innocent child,” while Stern reiterated that it must be understood that such acts, “will never be allowed to represent any legitimate expression of religion.”

Darwish, meanwhile, said this act should be used as a catalyst to create a covenant of all religious leaders against terror, and warmly praised the rabbis who had come to the hospital.

Speaking during the visit, Stav insisted that despite disagreements on various issues between the Muslim and Jewish faiths, such differences should be addressed with respect and a commitment to avoid spilling of blood.

Stav also addressed the concern that elements of Jewish youth in Israel are becoming radicalized.

“We must act with ultimate responsibility to reach our younger generation and teach them that even when we might not agree with another’s opinion that never gives us the right to physically attack or, God forbid, kill.”

The meeting was also joined by MK Abdel-Hakim Haj Yahya (UAL) who commended the initiative, but said it is not enough to speak, rather there must be greater action on the part of religious leaders in condemning acts of terror on all sides.

Prior to departing the hospital, the clerics met with the grandfather of the burn victims and stressed that their visit was supported by large number of other religious figures.

“We represent many rabbis, and none of us are willing to stand silent in the face of such a desperate act of evil,” said Stern.

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