Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef.
(photo credit: YAAKOV COHEN)
Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to increase his efforts to address the recent uptick in antisemitic incidents in the US, and the desecration of cemeteries in particular.
Yosef made his comments in an address at a ceremony at the Foreign Ministry for the 25th anniversary of the terrorist attack against the Israeli Embassy in Argentina in 1992, at which Netanyahu was also present.
At least three Jewish cemeteries have been vandalized in the US in recent days, while claims have also been made that headstones were deliberately damaged in a New York cemetery last Saturday night, allegations which are currently being investigated.
Philadelphia Jewish cemetery desecrated by vandals , suspected antisemitism (credit: REUTERS)
“Do everything you can to prevent the desecration of these cemeteries and the increase in antisemitism that has occurred in the US of late,” Yosef told the prime minister.
“At this time, in which we are commemorating this hateful event in the Diaspora, it is appropriate to use this platform and to request of you and of the officials in the Foreign Ministry not to remain silent in the face of this phenomenon of the desecration of Jewish cemeteries that we have been exposed to in recent days in the US,” the chief rabbi said. “Your voice is the voice our brothers in the Diaspora are expecting to hear, their eyes are directed to you. Do everything you are able to prevent these acts of hatred.”
Yosef mentioned that he had himself visited the Jewish community in Argentina and the site of the terrorist attack at the embassy, adding that he had been impressed by the recovery of the community and how it flourished after the attack, as well as after the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.
“This is the Jewish people, a nation that has suffered persecution for thousands of years but always knew to ‘shake off the dust, rise up, dress in clothes of splendor, my nation,’” Yosef concluded, quoting from Jewish liturgy.
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