NEW YORK, Nov. 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- AJC is outraged by an attack on a Reform synagogue in Ra'anana, Israel.
"Any attack on a house of worship is despicable, but this one, apparently carried out by Jews infused with hatred of other Jews, is especially painful, and demands urgent attention by the Israeli government," said AJC CEO David Harris. "The perpetrators, once identified, should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
Graffiti left on the synagogue's outer walls included a biblical verse that encourages violence against those deemed "heretics." Also found at the synagogue were envelopes containing death threats against Rabbi Gilad Kariv, the executive director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism; Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the U.S.-based president of the Union for Reform Judaism; and Anat Hoffman, head of the Women of the Wall activist group.
The vandalism at Kehilat Ra'anan -- the fifth time this has occurred, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz -- comes just three weeks after some ultra-Orthodox Jews triggered violence against Reform Jews at the Western Wall, one of Judaism's holiest sites, in Jerusalem.
A year ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah declared, "I will always ensure that all Jews can feel at home in Israel – Reform Jews, Conservative Jews, and Orthodox Jews – all Jews." He also announced that the Israeli government, together with the Jewish Agency for Israel, will "invest in strengthening Reform and Conservative communities within Israel."
The prime minister's pledge followed his September 2015 letter to AJC, in which he stated his commitment "to strengthening the unity of the Jewish people," and vowed "to unequivocally reject any attempt to divide us or to delegitimize any Jewish community – Reform, Conservative or Orthodox."
AJC has been focusing on issues of religious pluralism in Israel for decades, and, in 2014, established the Jewish Religious Equality Coalition (J-REC) to create recognized alternatives to the Chief Rabbinate on procedures relating to marriage and conversion to Judaism.
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SOURCE American Jewish Committee