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Rabbis announce communal fast for Gaza

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Rabbis announce communal fast for Gaza

Bethlehem – Ma’an – A group of rabbis and Jews has committed to undertaking a monthly daytime fast in support of Palestinians in Gaza, their website said.

In Jewish tradition a communal fast is held in times of crisis both as an expression of mourning and a call to repentance.

“The Torah teaches, Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s blood is being spilled (Leviticus 19:16). As Jews and people of conscience, we can no longer stand idly by Israel’s collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza,” the group said.

In this spirit Ta’anit Tzedek, Hebrew for Jewish Fast for Gaza, “is a collective act of conscience initiated by an ad hoc group of rabbis, Jews, people of faith, and all concerned with the ongoing crisis in Gaza,” they added.

The rabbis also called for lifting the blockade on Gaza, which they said prevents the entry of civilian goods and services, as well as for increasing aid to the Strip’s people.

Participants said they want Israel, the US and the international community to “engage in negotiations without pre-conditions with all relevant Palestinian parties – including Hamas – in order to end the blockade,” and encouraged the US to “vigorously engage both Israelis and Palestinians toward a just and peaceful settlement of the conflict.”

“The Talmud teaches, On three things the world stands: on justice, on truth, and on peace (Mishnah Avot 1:18). From this we learn that justice, truth and peace are interdependent and irrevocably intertwined,” the group said. “Thus we cannot separate our call for justice in Gaza from the painful truth of this conflict and the ongoing tragedy of war in this tortured region.”

Nevertheless, the group said it condemned what it called Hamas’ deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians, but added that out of “the same ethical commitments we also condemn the use of much greater violence by the Israeli government, causing many more deaths of Palestinian civilians.”

The water-only fast will take place every third Thursday of the month, from sunrise to sunset, the group added, noting that they plan to donate money usually spent on food to the Milk for Preschoolers Campaign run by American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA).

Sourced from Ma’an News Agency