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Statement of the IRF on Condemning and Fighting Terrorism in the World and Israel

Sunday, November 29, 2015

This past month has seen our world defiled by horrific acts of terrorism in France, Lebanon, Mali, Turkey and our beloved state of Israel. The International Rabbinic Fellowship (IRF) remembers with pain and sorrow all the victims of these outrages and offers its support and comfort to the families of the victims. As members of the broader Modern-Orthodox community we were especially shaken by the despicable murders of Rabbi Yaacov Don z"l, a 49 year old father of four and leading educator of Alon Shvut, Gush Etzion and of Ezra Schwartz z"l, a young 18 year old Sharon, Mass. native, studying in Israel for a year before his entry into college.
 
We support vigorous and sustained efforts to destroy ISIS and other radical Islamist groups that use terror and violence to further their aims. No political, ideological or religious cause justifies the murder of innocent people. We fully concur with US Secretary of State, John Kerry's, recent statement in Jerusalem that:
 
"Clearly, no people anywhere should live with daily violence; with attacks in the streets, with knives or scissors or cars. It is very clear to us that the terrorism, these acts of terrorism, which have been taking place deserve the condemnation that they are receiving. And today I express complete condemnation for any act of terror that takes innocent lives and disrupts the day-to-day life of a nation...Israel has every right in the world to defend itself. It has an obligation to defend itself."

We support all efforts to help and assist those fleeing oppression and recall the tragic history of so many our people during the Holocaust who were refused entry to safe havens including on these shores and were condemned to death and destruction. We fully appreciate the need to balance security and safety concerns with humanitarian needs. 
 
We applaud the balanced statement of the Orthodox Union that stated:
 
We encourage a sensible process of reviewing and enhancing security. Neither partisan politics nor xenophobia can have a place in that debate. While security concerns must be paramount, our focus as a nation should be on “getting to yes.” Congress and the Executive Branch should review the screening program for refugees and strengthen it as appropriate. The process under which individuals can enter the U.S. on tourist or student visas should be reviewed as well. America has both the creativity and compassion to successfully address the competing considerations and we urge our political leaders to work toward achieving this delicate balance.
 
Finally, the IRF calls on all responsible civic, political and religious leaders to eschew anti-Muslim bigotry and wholesale demonization of Muslims and their faith. These phenomena are both immoral, un-American and counterproductive to the goals of ensuring a safe, prosperous and thriving United States of America.