From: David Bar-Cohn
To: Jews and non-Jews everywhere
In the spirit of the Talmudic dictum "silence is like agreement" I feel compelled to speak up.
Violence in the name of religious Judaism -- brought to media attention by demonstrations held in Mea She'arim and Ramat Beit Shemesh as well as by sporadic violent incidents committed there and elsewhere -- has caused untold harm to people, property, and to the reputation of Judaism itself. It is therefore time for the overwhelming silent majority of good, decent, peaceful and law-abiding religious Jews to raise a voice in opposition to this violence.
Whether it is stones or soiled diapers being thrown at police officers, cars and buses being pelted with rocks, women being intimidated or beaten for their dress or for refusing to sit at the back of the bus, public property being destroyed, trash bins and refuse being burned, or other uses of force as a means of religious expression or coercion, it has become necessary to say that which should go without saying:
SUCH VIOLENCE IS COMPLETELY ANTITHETICAL TO AUTHENTIC JEWISH THOUGHT AND PRACTICE, AND I CONDEMN IT WITHOUT RESERVATION AND IN THE STRONGEST POSSIBLE TERMS.
Sabbath desecration or other acts which may go against religious Jewish sensibilities DO NOT justify a violent response. Harming people or property in the name of Judaism is a FAR GREATER desecration. Indeed it runs counter to what it means to be a Jew, wherein "love thy neighbor" is the central pillar of Jewish life and a vital part of all ritual observances.
With my signature as well as those of other like-minded individuals, this petition shall stand as testimony to all those who search the web for terms such as "religious Jewish violence" that there is a strong voice among religious Jews which opposes this violence unequivocally.
(While all who agree are welcome to sign this petition, religious Jews are especially encouraged to do so, since it is their voice which most critically needs to be heard.)