Sunday, December 13, 2009

Expel the Darkness

A group of rabbis from the religious Zionist tradition are visiting the Mosque that was burned down by Jewish extremists earlier this week.
Dozens of rabbis and activists from the Religious Zionist camp will visit Sunday the West Bank Palestinian village of Yasuf to protest against the torching of the village's main mosque and to send a message of reconciliation to the Muslim population, Ynet has learned.

During their visit, they will lend a hand in the clean-up and refurbishing efforts at the mosque. They will also donate a number of Korans in place of those that were burned in the fire.
Rabbi Yehuda Gilad, who heads the yeshiva on the religious kibbutz Maale Gilboa, initiated the event together with Rabbi Avia Rosen from Ein Hanatziv and Rabbi Shmuel Reiner. Rabbi Gilad said, "We came to expel darkness, especially during the days of Hannukah. Light is not added by hurting our brothers, the Muslims, who are the servants of God just as we are. This is an important message to relay."

According to Rabbi Gilad, rabbis from across the spectrum of Religious Zionism and from areas throughout Israel are expected to partake in the event that was put together just Sunday morning. "This is not a political protest, but a humanitarian, moral, and religious issue. We have seen and heard condemnations (of the mosque arson) from both ends of the political spectrum," said Rabbi Gilad.

Rabbi Menachem Froman, the rabbi of the town of Tekoa who speaks with a lot Muslim religious figures, said that the response on the other side was considerable. He noted that the visit is being coordinated with the Palestinian military governor in the region.

"They are receiving us openly. We will drink coffee with them. We will speak about the halachic opposition to what happened there on Friday and just how harsh such an act is from its (halacha's) perspective. We will make a joint prayer for peace," said Rabbi Froman.

Rabbi Froman said that at the conclusion of the event, his son, who speaks Arabic, will sing an Arabic version of the Hannukah song "We Have Come to Expel Darkness" (Banu Hoshech Legaresh).

A good gesture, and a needed one.

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