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CJP, JCRC Joint Statement on Justice and Vengeance

"Israel is a state of law, everyone needs to conduct themselves according to law." 
-Prime Minister Netanyahu

We do not yet know who is responsible for the apparent brutal murder of a Palestinian boy near Jerusalem this morning, nor the motivation for this despicable act.  It does not matter. In the words of Mayor Nir Barkat - regardless of who the perpetrators were - this is “a horrible and barbaric act.”

What we do know is that, amid the rollercoaster of grief and mourning that Israel and the Jewish people have experienced over the past two days, there have been a few who have called for vengeance.  Yesterday in Jerusalem, there were pockets of protesters demanding revenge and harassing Arab passersby.

That’s not who we are and that’s not the Israel and the Jewish people we love. We join the immediate and unequivocal condemnations of this morning’s murder from across Israel’s political spectrum, because we, like the people of Israel, love every child and value every innocent life. We are inspired by the outpouring of dismay in the people of Israel, who are gathering this afternoon in Jerusalem for a rally against violence and racism under the banner “We Mourn. We Do Not Avenge.”

The Jewish people are a people who pursue justice. In our grief for the heinous murders of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel we demand justice. We demand justice against those who committed that crime. We demand justice to punish all of the terrorists who seek to kill innocent Israelis, as well as for those who protect and coddle terrorists as they rain down rockets on innocent civilians. We pursue justice for all the victims of terror, and for those who have been so ill-served by the rule of the terrorist Hamas organization. And we seek justice for today’s brutal crime.

Justice, as the Prime Minister rightly put it today, comes through the rule of law.  Justice will not come through acts of vengeance. Revenge will only compound the grief that came with murder of three– and now, sadly a fourth - teenage boy.

In the words of Naftali Fraenkel’s uncle this morning: “There is no difference between blood and blood. A murderer is a murderer, no matter his nationality and age. There is no justification, no forgiveness and no atonement for any murder.”