Leading Rabbi: Jews who harass Christians are not Torah observant, it is a sin

Leading Rabbi: Jews who harass Christians are not Torah observant, it is a sin

Jerusalem’s Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar released a statement on Tuesday condemning the harassment of Christian clerics in Jerusalem.

“We were sorry to hear from non-Jewish clergymen that some young Jews, some of whom pretend to be God-fearing, curse them, desecrate the name of God and etc. while walking in the city streets,” he wrote in a public letter.

“There is no doubt that this was done by irresponsible people who are not Torah observant. We declare that such behavior is absolutely forbidden. We must not disrespect any human being who was created in the image of God…

“In addition to the obvious prohibition mentioned above, this behavior also constitutes a desecration of God’s name, which is a serious sin and not the Jewish way. It is known that during the time of the Temple, seventy bulls were sacrificed during the seven days of Sukkot for the seventy nations of the world, and prayers were held for peace, their peace, and the spread of peace in the world. It is also a duty for young people to behave with respect and honor as is the way of the Jewish people.”

Rabbi Amar’s statement comes in the wake of an anti-missionary protest held by Orthodox Jews outside a Christian prayer event at the Davidson Center Archaeological Park adjacent to the southern wall of the Temple Mount last month.

The statement was shared on Twitter by Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, one of Jerusalem’s deputy mayors who handles the tourism and foreign relations for the city. She has been working to stop harassment of Christians in Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem is a city that sanctifies freedom of religion so when I received complaints about Christians being harassed in the old city we took action,” she said on Twitter. “[I am] pleased the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem has sent out a public letter to clarify that this is against Jewish Law and should stop.”

Rabbi Amar’s statement was praised by U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt.

“Jerusalem is a holy city for all the Abrahamic faiths and must be a city for all its people. Christians, Jews and Muslims alike should feel welcome in Jerusalem and throughout the Holy Land,” Lipstadt tweeted. “I concur with Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Rabbi Shlomo Amar’s condemnation of the harassment of Christians and non-Jewish clergy by young Jews in the Old City.

Reverend Johnnie Moore, a Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) Advisory Board member, replied to Hassan-Nahoum, “Thank you, Mayor. These incidents almost never happen (I haven’t seen anything like this on my many visits), but such decisive & immediate action is admirable & it shows the strength of Israeli democracy.

“Grateful also for the Chief Rabbi’s sentiments,” Moore continued. “He clearly recognizes the unique era of friendship between Jews & Christians we now enjoy…rare in history and something to cherish. A better use of this spiritual energy is for Jewish and Christian clergy, as proud Jews and proud Christians, to study the Hebrew Bible, together…united in the love of their shared scriptures and in their passion to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”

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