12/14/2009, 00.00
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Israel’s chief rabbi visits mosque set on fire by extremist Jewish settlers

by Arieh Cohen
Yona Metzger said the Holocaust was preceded by similar acts of vandalism. Jews should respect other religions. There is a danger that the national conflict might turn into a religious one.
Tel Aviv (AsiaNews) – Israel’s Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger visited the Palestinian mosque of Yasuf, in the Occupied Territories, set on fire last Friday by Jewish settlers, and condemned the sacrilegious outrage.

The rabbi, who habitually participates in the interreligious dialogue with the Vatican, exhorted his fellow countrymen to remember that such acts of vandalism had also preceded the Holocaust, and that the respect Jews expect from others is also due from them to other religions.

Security during the visit to the West Bank village was provided entirely by Palestinian security forces.

The gesture of the visit to the place itself, and the trust placed in the autonomous Palestinian security forces, are truly extraordinary in these times of growing tensions.

They are meant to distinguish the very great majority of the Jewish Israeli population from the violent extremism of the fundamentalist elements.

The Grand Rabbinate, which is a department of the State of Israel, has wished thus to express the profound preoccupation of the State, as well as that of its moderate religious elements, in the face of the danger that the national conflict with the Palestinians might become a religious conflict, with even graver consequences.

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