Dozens of Orthodox rabbis from Israel and Europe have written a letter to the monks of the Latrun Monastery. The monastery was vandalized last week, apparently by West Bank Jewish settlers or their sympathizers who painted “Jesus is a monkey” and pro-settler slogans on the monastery wall and set the front door on fire.
Rabbis Send Letter To Monks Condemning Church Attack; Haredi Rabbis Mostly AWOL
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Dozens of Orthodox rabbis from Israel and Europe have written a letter to the monks of the Latrun Monastery, Ynet reports. The monastery was vandalized last week, apparently by West Bank Jewish settlers or their sympathizers who painted “Jesus is a monkey” and pro-settler slogans on the monastery wall and set the front door on fire.
The rabbis’ letter condemned the attack.
"We would like to express our shock in light of the acts of vandalism directed at your monastery, the kind of which have been directed in recent months against other churches and mosques across the country…
We deeply regret the disrespect you were shown by members of our religion and people.…We believe there is no room for expressions of hatred and hostility towards any person of a different faith… Our Torah's ways are pleasant and peaceful.…The love of Israel must not be based on the hatred of others."
The rabbis, who also reportedly wrote that they had conducted a process of "self-examination" in the wake of the vandalism, concluded the letter with the hope that the Latrun monks would “accept this expression of sympathy as well as our renewed commitment to work to increase the understanding between members of the different religions in the Land of Israel."
The letter was reportedly written to calm growing tensions with the Christian world following the vandalism, which itself followed a long string of spitting attacks by haredi Jews against Christian clergy in Jerusalem’s Old City, and arson and vandalism attacks against several mosques and churches, all allegedly carried out by Jewish settlers.
Rabbis who signed the letter include former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel Eliyahu Bakshi Doron; Rabbi She'ar Yashuv Hacohen, Chairman of the Council for Dialogue between Judaism and Islam; Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain; Rabbi Gilles Bernheim, Chief Rabbi of France; Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland; Rabbi Berel Lazar, Chabad’s Chief Rabbi of Russia; Rabbi Menachem Froman, Chief Rabbi of the West Bank settlement of Tekoa; Rabbi Yuval Sherlo, Rosh Yeshiva of the Petach Tikvah Hesder Yeshiva; and Rabbi Michael Melchior.
All of the named rabbis are Modern Orthodox, except for Lazar.
Ynet’s report does not account for the absence of haredi signatures.