Former Israeli President Shimon Peres held an emergency conference attended by leaders representing various faiths in Israel to stand together in a call against terror and bloodshed in the name of religion.
Peres began with an opening statement: “We must pray together and say with a strong voice that there is no God who sanctions murder. We must sit and talk. Violence is not the way.”
Sheikh Hamad Kivon, Chairman of the Association of Muslim Clerics, said: “The sanctity of humanity is above all. It is forbidden for anyone to take the law into their own hands and to pull out knives.”
Rabbi Shlomo Amar, former Chief Rabbi and current Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, said: “There is no religion in the world that allows bloodshed. The commandment ‘thou shalt not kill’ is alive and indisputable.”
The religious leaders included: the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Sheikh Hamad Kivon Chairman of the Association of Muslim Clerics, Sheikh Muafak Tarrif the head of the Druze Community, and Sheikh Suleiman Satel from Jaffa. They came together to issue a joint call to stop the bloodshed and to prevent further and unnecessary grief. At the end of the conference, representatives from all of the religions prayed together and sang with strong voices the song Ose Shalom Bimromav (He makes peace above all).
“We came to pray together and to state loud and clear – that we believe in the sanctity of humanity and oppose any form of murder or violence. There is no choice but to sit and talk,” Peres said. “I welcome all of the religious leaders who have come to pray together. Though we belong to different religions, we all believe in the sanctity of humanity. We leave here calling for an end to the terror and violence. We must live together side by side as brothers and as believers. We must sit and talk. Every other action only leads to more pain and violence. We call for an end to the needless bloodshed.”
Sheikh Hamad Kivon thanked Peres for holding this important conference and said: “You cannot avoid the current situation in the country and ignore the daily events. I see the events in Ra’anana and Jerusalem, and despite the real danger to my life, I chose to come here to say to everyone that it is forbidden for anyone to take the law into their own hands and to draw knives.”
Sheikh Muafak Tarrif, head of the Druze community, stated: “The clergy plays a crucial role in maintaining the calm, we must mobilize together to stop the violence and racist calls.”
Sheikh Suleiman Satel from Jaffa called for calm in the region and added: “Jaffa is an example of coexistence, and we must maintain this at all cost. Respect each person and his culture and religion and respect the holy places for all religions.”