Religious Responses to Israel/Palestine Violence

Elijah Interfaith Institute

Source: Elijah Interfaith Institute

For those of us headquartered in Israel and praying regularly for the peace of Jerusalem, the weeks that have elapsed since our last session of prayer and since our last newsletter have been painful. The outbreaks of violence within Israel and between Israel and Gaza have been a cause of great suffering for all. We issued a call to prayer in real time. We also joined other organizations in featuring the voices of religious leaders for peace and against violence. We’d like to share some of these calls with our readers.

a. The following declaration was made on May 18, 2021 in the Holy Land.

We include its original Hebrew and Arabic versions as well as the English translation.

We, Rabbis, Imams, and other Muslim and Jewish people of faith, make this heartfelt declaration to our respective communities who believe in one God, who desires peace.
We are all believers in one God who has created all human beings
We all believe in the severe prohibition against injuring someone because of their faith or religious affiliation.
We all believe in the values of fairness and honesty and yearn for a world of righteousness, compassion, and peace
We all understand that as citizens of Israel it is incumbent upon us to live here together in a spirit of cooperation, fairness and mutual respect
Even though there exist between us deep divisions in matters relating to religion and to statecraft, it is clear that we are all obligated to act at the very least according to the principle that
"What is hateful to you do not do to your neighbor."
For these reasons we declare in a loud voice:
No to violence!
No to vandalism in general and to damaging holy places in particular!
No to blind hatred!
No to incitement in the name of religion!
We beseech you to remember that we are all children of Abraham our father, the man of faith and lovingkindness.
We will all act and pray for a better world in which "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore, and the earth will be full of the knowledge of God like waters cover the ocean".

קריאה ציבורית משותפת של אנשי דת יהודים ומוסלמים

אנו, רבנים, אימאמים, ואנשי דת מוסלמים ויהודים, יוצאים בזאת בקריאה נרגשת לבני עדותינו מאמיני הא-ל האחד, הבוחר בשלום.

כולנו מאמינים בא-ל אחד שברא את כל בני האדם.

כולנו מאמינים החמור של פגיעה באדם אחר חף מפשע בשל אמונתו או השתייכותו הדתית.

כולנו מאמינים בערכים של הגינות ויושר וחותרים ומקווים לעולם של צדק, חסד ושלום.

כולנו מבינים כי נגזר עלינו אזרחי ישראל, לחיות כאן יחדיו תוך כדי שיתוף פעולה, הוגנות וכבוד הדדי.

גם אם יש בינינו מחלוקות עמוקות בנושאים דתיים ולאומיים, ברור לנו כי חייבים כולנו לפעול לפחות על פי הכלל המינימליסטי של "מה ששנוא עליך לא תעשה לעמיתך".

אשר על כן אנחנו קוראים בקול גדול:

לא לאלימות!

לא לוונדליזם בכלל ופגיעה במקומות קדושים בפרט!

לא לשנאה עיוורת!

לא להסתה בשם הדת!

נזכור נא שכולנו בניו של אברהם אבינו איש האמונה והחסד.

נתפלל ונפעל כולנו יחד לעולם טוב יותר עולם ש"לא ישא גוי אל גוי חרב ולא ילמדו עוד מלחמה, ומלאה הארץ דעה את ה' כמים לים מכסים"

نحن حاخامات وائمة رجال دين مسلمون ويهود،

نتوجه بنداء مفعم لابناء طوائفنا المؤمنون بالإله الواحد السلام.

كلنا نؤمن بالله الواحد الخالق لكل البشر،

كلنا نؤمن بالحرمة المطلقة للإضرار باي انسان بريء بسبب انتمائه العقائدي او الديني،

كلنا نؤمن بمبادىء الانصاف والاستقامة ونعمل ونأمل لعالم فيه عدل وتسامح وسلام،

كلنا نستوعب انه قد قدر لنا مواطني اسرائيل، ان نعيش هنا سوية بتعاون وانصاف واحترام متبادل.

حتى وان كانت بيننا خلافات عميقه في امور دينية ووطنية، فانه بات واضح انا انه يتوجب علينا ان نعمل ولو بأدنى حد حسب المبدأ القائل، لا تفعل لغيرك ما تكره لنفسك.

وعليه: فإننا نناشد بصرخة مدوية:

لا للعنف

لا لكل انواع التخريب ولا للمساس بالاماكن المقدسة بشكل خاص

لا للحقد الاعمى

لا للتحريض بإسم الدين

علينا التذكر جميعا اننا ابناء ابينا ابراهيم عليه السلام المؤمن المحسن.

لنصلي ونعمل كلنا سوية لعالم افضل عالم لا يحمل انسان ضد انسان حربة ولا يعرف فيه الناس الحرب وتمتلئ الارض بمعرفة الله كما تغطي المياه الب

b. The Beit Morasha Institute in Jerusalem issued the following statement and video.

Our country is experiencing difficult times, and many complex questions about religion, comradery, identity, violence, and co-existence are surfacing. Alongside the frightening sights, we are also witnessing extraordinary social initiatives that illustrate our resilience as a society.

We at Beit Morasha are proud to lead the Forum of Israeli Faith Leaders, together with the Ministry of the Interior - the Religious Communities Division, and with the support of the Matanel Foundation. The overarching goal of the forum is to serve and function as a task force in times of crisis – and that is what we are doing!

c. Ten years ago, Elijah’s leaders issued a spiritual and scholarly response to violence. Sadly, it is more needed now than ever before.

A 12 Step Vision for Religious Communities and their Leaders Offered by Scholars and Religious Leaders of the Elijah Interfaith Institute

The daily news makes us increasingly aware of growing hatred and intolerance in our global society. Much of this hatred is aimed at other religions. Too many people have been led to believe that in order to be faithful to their religion and defend its truth, they must denigrate and reject people of other faiths and adopt attitudes and actions of disrespect and intolerance. While Islam has been at the forefront of recent expressions of religious hate, the problem is global and affects all our religious communities. All our religious traditions are both vulnerable to hateful attacks from others and susceptible to exploitation as a basis for hostility and intolerance toward others.

The quest for happiness and wellbeing is common to all of humanity,and yet we are all capable of practices that get in the way of such happiness. Therefore, dealing with religiously-based hatred is a major challenge for religious leaders worldwide, in the service of their communities.

We, scholars and religious leaders, affiliated with the Elijah Interfaith Institute, would like to share our experience and vision with religious communities, in the hope of stemming the tide of religiously based hate. We offer the following 12 points, as a common ground for all religions, based on our common quest for wisdom, with the hope of inspiring reflection and action that will bring us closer to peace and harmonious living. These 12 points are broken down in light of three main wisdom teachings, recognized by all world religions.

  1. Stop and think. The wise stop and think before they speak and act.

  2. Be aware. The wise are alert and constantly monitor their own attitudes.

  3. Recognize fear. The wise recognize fear, and combat it with knowledge.


One of the most fundamental teaching of all our religions is the golden rule. It states that you should do unto others as you would want to have done unto yourself. This principle of reciprocity is articulated in all world religions, without exception. Practicing the golden rule can help us advance in combating intolerance and the hate it breeds.

  1. Find the Good in the other. The wise Find what is good in the other. This is their truth.

  2. Get to Know the other. The wise get to know the other personally.

  3. Understand the viewpoint of the other. The wise consider the viewpoint of the other.

  4. Do not generalize or stereotype. The wise do not generalize.

  5. Speak out Against Hate. The wise speak out against wrongdoing.

  1. Get correct knowledge. The wise seek reliable information about other faiths.

  2. Learn the lessons of history. The wise learn the lessons of history: Violence and destruction are always regretted.

  3. Practice Humility. The wise are humble.

  4. Share wisdom. The wise recognize wisdom wherever it is found and share it.


In conclusion, we call upon all religious leaders, our brothers and sisters in faith, to look deep within and to identify the sources of intolerance and violence not only within our traditions but also within our own hearts. The keys to world peace are in our hearts. Let us purify and open our hearts so that we find the good in the other, practice love and compassion and work together for the happiness and wellbeing of all.

The full text, which includes practical suggestions on how to implement these steps can be found here.