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Reform Rabbis Express Support for Israel/Gaza Cease Fire

Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) Urges Israeli Government and Legitimate Palestinian Leadership to Pursue Peaceful Coexistence Through Direct Negotiations

NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 11/22/12 -- The world's largest group of Jewish clergy, the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), consisting of 2,000 Reform Rabbis, applauds and supports the recent cease-fire between the State of Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, according to a statement issued by the CCAR.

"We salute all those in Israel, Gaza, the United States and beyond who helped bring about this direly needed secession of violence. We pray that this ceasefire will be more than a temporary respite from violence but rather the beginning of a peace which is real and enduring," the statement said. "To this end we call upon the government of Israel and the legitimate Palestinian leadership to do all within their power to pursue peaceful coexistence through direct negotiations."

The statement notes, "While the balance of military power is tilted towards Israel, Hamas has tremendous power which it has chosen not to exert, i.e., the power to protect the innocent, to control the radicals, to recognize Israel's right to exist and to seek direct talks. Hamas makes little effort to provide Palestinians with protective shelters as Israel does and, in fact, deliberately and unashamedly fires their weapons from civilian enclaves... We stand in solidarity with the people of Israel and all persons of good will and pray that after this difficult and tragic period of deep darkness, the rays of peace will finally begin to shine."

The full statement from the CCAR is appended.

To arrange a conversation with Rabbi Steven A. Fox, Chief Executive of the CCAR, please contact Katarina Wenk-Bodenmiller of Sommerfield Communications, Inc. at 617-939-9094 or [email protected].

About the CCAR

The Central Conference of American Rabbis, founded in 1889, is the oldest and largest rabbinic organization in North America. The CCAR provides religious leadership and a powerful voice in the religious life of the North American and international Jewish communities. The CCAR represents 2,000 Reform Rabbis who themselves lead 1.5 million Jews in congregations and community settings such as universities, schools, hospitals, and the military. Since its establishment, the CCAR has a rich history of uniting the Reform Movement through liturgy, rabbinical placement services and Jewish practice publications, offering professional and personal support to Reform rabbis and the communities they serve, serving as the center of life-long learning, Torah study, professional development and spiritual growth for Rabbis beginning while they are still in seminary, through mid-careers, and into retirement. The CCAR is uniquely positioned to meet the on-going needs of its 2,000 member rabbis (virtually the entire Reform rabbinate) and the entire Reform Jewish community. For more information, please visit the CCAR's website at http://ccarnet.org.

Following is the full statement from the CCAR on the cease fire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip:

The Central Conference of American Rabbis, representing 2000 Reform Rabbis throughout the world who serve 1.5 million Jews, applauds and supports the recent cease-fire between the State of Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. We salute all those in Israel, Gaza, the United States, and beyond who helped bring about this direly needed secession of violence.

We pray that this ceasefire will be more than a temporary respite from violence but rather the beginning of a peace which is real and enduring. To this end we call upon the government of Israel and the legitimate Palestinian leadership to do all within their power to pursue peaceful coexistence through direct negotiations.

We mourn the death of innocents on both sides, and recognize the suffering of thousands more who will forever bear the physical and psychological scars of war. We especially call upon the Palestinian leadership, both in Gaza and the West Bank, to bring order to their streets and control over the extremists among them whose acts of violence aimed at Israel has served to bring more death and destruction upon their own population. For too long have Israelis been living under the constant threat of indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza numbering in the thousands. For too long have children had to scramble towards bomb shelters with only seconds to spare. For too long have the people of Gaza been put in harms way by militants who use civilian victimhood as a potent weapon in the war for world opinion.

Throughout this ordeal, we have continually affirmed Israel's unequivocal right to defend its citizens from attacks from beyond its borders. Such is Jewish law's dictate to defend and protect. Rarely, if ever, has a country subjected to attacks against its population shown the degree of restraint exhibited in recent months by the State of Israel.

While the balance of military power is tilted towards Israel, Hamas has tremendous power which it has chosen not to exert, i.e., the power to protect the innocent, to control the radicals, to recognize Israel's right to exist and to seek direct talks. Hamas makes little effort to provide Palestinians with protective shelters as Israel does and, in fact, deliberately and unashamedly fires their weapons from civilian enclaves.

We stand in solidarity with the people of Israel and all persons of good will and pray that after this difficult and tragic period of deep darkness, the rays of peace will finally begin to shine.

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