The main modern Orthodox rabbinical group in the United States expressed its “outrage” over a video that shows Jewish revelers at a wedding celebrating the murder of three Palestinians in a West Bank firebombing.
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“The vigilante and lawless calls for revenge and dancing with machine guns and knives are anathema to Jewish morality and religious standards,” Rabbi Shalom Baum, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, said in a statement issued Thursday.
The video, released December 23 on Israel’s Channel 10 and filmed at the Jerusalem wedding of a right-wing couple earlier in the month, features friends of the suspected assailants in the July firebombing of a home in the Palestinian village of Duma that killed three members of the Dawabshe family — a toddler and his parents.
In the video, party-goers stab a photo of the Palestinian family and wave knives, rifles, pistols and Molotov cocktails. The crowd chants the words to a song that includes a verse from Judges 16:28, in which Samson says, “Let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” The crowd substitutes “Palestinians” for Philistines.
The youths in the video have been condemned from across Israel’s political and religious spectrum.
The RCA, which represents over 1,000 rabbis, “applauds the quick and decisive statements of Israeli religious and political leaders” against the guests at the wedding, the statement said.
The statement called on the Israeli government to “take whatever measures necessary to protect the safety of all of its innocent citizens, and calls upon Israeli religious and educational leaders to nurture values in Israeli society that hold these despicable acts to be unacceptable and intolerable.”
The International Rabbinic Fellowship, a group of rabbis from around the world, issued a statement on December 24 expressing its “shock and sorrow” over the contents of the wedding video.
“That even a few Jews identified with the observant community can act in this way is frightening and an admonition to us all. Such behavior is halakhically and morally repulsive and an ethical stain on the good name of Judaism and the State of Israel,” the fellowship said in its statement. “We trust the authorities in Israel not only to condemn this behavior but diligently work to prevent the awful acts it encourages.”
The statement continued: “As a small educational step, we call on all members of the observant community both in Israel and in the Diaspora to desist from playing songs of vengeance such as the one taken from the Book of Judges, at any wedding or other celebration that is held. We call on all people invited as guests to exit the circles of dancing when such songs are playing and express their disapproval.”