Contact: Alexis Rice or Barbara Weinstein
WASHINGTON, August 31, 2004 - In response to today's suicide bombings in Beer Sheva, Israel, which killed 16 and injured nearly 100 individuals, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
Today, as far too often, we send our deepest sympathies to the families of the victims of the suicide bombings in Israel. Hamas (and other Palestinian terrorist groups), by engaging in such brutal acts aimed at civilian populations, commits crime against humanity and in doing so, delegitimize the cause of the Palestinian people. This terrorism must stop.
We know that there are many in the Palestinian community who do not support suicide bombings and violence. Today, we call on them to raise their voices in condemnation of these horrific deeds and act decisively to ensure their cessation.
Today's bombings are a human tragedy first and foremost. It is a political tragedy as well, coming on the very day that Israel's Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, issued a timetable for withdrawing all settlers and soldiers from Gaza and portions of the West Bank. The victims of the human tragedy are Israelis; the victims of the political tragedy are not only the people of Israel, but all those Palestinians and others across the globe who genuinely seek peace in that troubled land. Our condolences and our hearts go out to the families of the victims. May the memory of their loved ones ever be for a blessing.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis(CCAR) whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.