Feb 7, 2006
The RCA is appalled at the images and first hand reports that it has seen and received from Amona. While news accounts differ, and some of the facts remain in dispute, this much is clear: The government of Israel used its border police to remove settlers and protesters from nine buildings. These police used considerable force, injuring about 200 people, including some who did not actively pose a threat, and including three members of Knesset. Some of the protestors used violence to resist the police, throwing rocks and cinder blocks, and injuring about 50.
Such wanton violence does not belong in a Jewish polity; Jews do not treat Jews this way. Those who may be responsible (on whichever side of the divide they may be) must be held to account lest this become the way of the future. We therefore strongly support the call of President Katzav for the formation of a panel of inquiry to uncover the truth. The members who comprise such a panel must have the confidence of all parties involved, the independence to be motivated only by the search for truth, and the power to subpoena all necessary people and documents. We are distressed that the Olmert government, according to press reports, will not consider such a panel.
But regardless of the results of any investigation, an unacceptable and tragic precedent has been set. Brother has lifted hand against brother. Tactics and language hitherto reserved only for battles between Israel and her enemies have been applied by groups of Jews against each other. The failure to find a peaceful way to resolve the situation has created a state of affairs that can easily spiral out of control.
We are alarmed at the prospect of young religious Israelis growing up to view the government as the enemy.
We are alarmed at the prospect of the duly elected government of Israel singling out one group in Israeli society for harsh treatment on the ground and in the media.
We are alarmed at the widening of the rift between religious and secular that these events portend.
From six thousand miles away we share in the pain of a nation divided, and it is that shared pain that makes us speak out.
We beg our brothers and sisters to step back from the precipice and work to rebuild trust.
We call upon the government of Israel to recognize that settlers are not enemies of the State of Israel and ought not be subjected to the indiscriminate use of force.
We call upon our brothers and sisters in the Religious Zionist camp to concede that the duly elected Israeli government has the authority to determine the policies of the State. Even if one does not agree with such policies, sometimes, for the greater good, painful sacrifices have to be made.
We realize that the implementation of these points poses difficult challenges for both sides. We feel, however, that in the other direction lies the abyss. The painful becomes palatable when the alternative is, Heaven forbid, the unraveling of Israel society.