Rabbi Calls For Peace, Mercy, In Wake Of Hamas Terrorist Attack In Israel

CALL FOR MERCY – Rabbi Eli Garfinkel speaks during the Vigil for Israel, held October 11 at Temple Beth El on Hamilton Street.

The Rabbi of Temple Beth El on Hamilton Street told his congregation that hatred of all Palestinians is not the productive response to the terror attacks carried out in Israel over the weekend by a Palestinian-linked terrorist group.

Rabbi Eli Garfinkel told his congregation and visitors during a special Vigil for Israel that while justice must be meted out to those who carried out the attacks, mercy must be shown to the majority of Palestinians who are not supporters of the organization, Hamas.

“If you want anger, go watch TV,” he said. “I do not want a house of God to become a shrine of rage.”

Garfinkel said that he came to the congregation with a message of hope.

“The hope lies in the idea that we could fight the terror with equal parts justice and mercy,” he said. “Those who gleefully machine gunned the innocent … they must get justice, and lots of it. The problem is that there are 2 million men, women and children in Gaza who do not deserve the punishment.”

“If being a Jew is to mean anything … we must care about the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank,” Garfinkel said. “We have to help them obtain the basic necessities of life, food, water, medicine and yes, even electricity.”

“We have to help them because their own corrupt governments do not care about them at all,” he said.”

Asserting that he is a “Zionist through-and-through,” Garfinkel said the fact that Jews have no other homeland other than Israel is why “we have to have mercy on the average Palestinian who just wants to go to work, come home and have a decent life. For the sake of Israel and the reputation of the Jewish people, we must show mercy to those who have not harmed us.”

“If Israel holds on to hatred and rage, it will become weak,” he said. “The Jewish state must mix military might with mercy.”

Mayor Phil Kramer told teh congregation that the weekend attack left him with the same feelings he had after the 9-11 terrorist attacks in this country.

“I remember the shock and hopelessness of 9-11 because I feel it now,” he said.

“How do you even begin to process what has happened?” he said. “What is the strategy when the events are beyond words? I console myself by remembering the history of the nation of Israel … is perseverance in the face of what would seem to be insurmountable odds.”

“Here in Franklin, we are unified in our grief and stand as a community of one,” Kramer said.

Echoing Garfinkel’s message, Kramer said, “We must respect the citizens of all nations, we must respect the citizens of Palestine as we do the citizens of Israel. May that be true for the entire peace-loving world.”

The Franklin Reporter & Advocate live-streamed the vigil:

We also interviewed Rabbi Garfinkel and Mayor Kramer after the event:

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