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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

October 7, 2011  RSS feed
World News

Text: T T T

Rabbis, Israeli government condemn mosque arson; teen held in attack


President Shimon Peres visits the mosque that was attacked Oct. 2 in Tuba- Zangria. He was accompanied by Israel’s Chief Rabbis and a delegation of senior religious leaders representing the Muslim, Christian, and Druse faiths. “I am filled with shame for this hateful act,” Peres said, “I came here, to this burnt mosque, and I am shocked to the depths of my soul. This is desecrating the holy. … This evil act is not only against the law, it is against Judaism, morality and spirit.” Peres and the Chief Rabbis asked forgiveness for the attack. President Shimon Peres visits the mosque that was attacked Oct. 2 in Tuba- Zangria. He was accompanied by Israel’s Chief Rabbis and a delegation of senior religious leaders representing the Muslim, Christian, and Druse faiths. “I am filled with shame for this hateful act,” Peres said, “I came here, to this burnt mosque, and I am shocked to the depths of my soul. This is desecrating the holy. … This evil act is not only against the law, it is against Judaism, morality and spirit.” Peres and the Chief Rabbis asked forgiveness for the attack. (JTA ) – Nearly 1,100 rabbis in Israel and North America have signed a petition online condemning the burning of a mosque in a Bedouin town in northern Israel Oct. 2.

The New Israel Fund, which circulated the petition following the arson, presented it Oct. 6 to the imam of the Tuba-Zangariya village, where the attack took place.

The petition, signed by rabbis representing the Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist movements, called attacking a mosque or any religious building “antithetical to the most basic values of Judaism, and cannot be justified for any reason.”

Tampa Bay area rabbis signing the statement included Rabbi Jason Rosenberg of Congregation Beth Am in Tampa, Rabbi David Weizman of Congregation Beth Shalom in Clearwater, Rabbi Daniel Treiser of Temple B’nai Israel in Clearwater, Rabbi Michael Torop of Temple Beth-El in St. Petersburg and Rabbi Betsy Torop of Congregation Beth Shalom in Brandon.

Meanwhile, police confirmed that they arrested an 18-year-old Jewish man in connection with the arson hours after the attack and that the suspect since then has been held in prison, according to reports.

The mosque arson destroyed holy books and prayer rugs. Graffiti, including the words “price tag” and “Palmer,” were spray-painted on the mosque walls.

Price tag refers to the strategy that extremist settlers have adopted to exact a price in attacks on Palestinians in retribution for settlement freezes and demolitions or for Palestinian attacks on Jews. Palmer likely refers to Israeli Asher Palmer, who was killed Sept. 23, along with his infant son, after a rock thrown in an apparent terrorist attack crashed through the windshield of his car, causing him to lose control of the vehicle, which then flipped over.

Israeli and Jewish leaders around the world, as well as the governments of several countries, condemned the arson attack.

A U.S. State Department statement on Oct. 4 “strongly” condemning the arson, noted “that the Israeli Government also strongly condemned the attacks, and we endorse stepped-up efforts by law enforcement authorities to act vigorously to bring to justice those responsible for this heinous act and similar attacks that have taken place in the West Bank.”

Major U.S. Jewish groups, including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the foreign policy umbrella body, also have condemned the arson.


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