Within hours of the shocking news of the arrest (and in one case) confession of six Jewish suspects in the murder of Muhammad Hussein Abu Khudair, leaders of the American Jewish organizations rushed to condemn the heinous crime.
“Reports of arrests of members of the Jewish community in connection with the recent murder of an Arab youth, Muhammad Hussein Abu Khudair, should fill us all with revulsion,” was the unequivocal opening statement from the Agudath Israel. “To take the life of an innocent human being is not only an indefensible, evil act but, here, brings our people down to the level of our most implacable and cruel enemies. It is a chillul Hashem, a desecration of G-d’s name.”
A press release from Malcolm Hoenlein and Robert Surgarman on behalf of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations stressed hopes that this isolated vigilante act should not cause further escalation of hostilities. “We also urge that measures be implemented to stop all incitement to violence, whatever and whoever the source. There has been much suffering this week, and we pray that it will come to a quick end. All violations of the law must and will be thoroughly examined.”
Among the most disturbing, and potentially dangerous, aspects of this horrific event is its perception as a reaction to the discovery of the murder of the three Jewish youths early last week. A statement issued jointly by the Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America was strongest in addressing this idea and its implications:
“We are appalled that this heinous crime was allegedly carried out in revenge for the kidnapping and murder of three innocent Jewish teens in Gush Etzion. The murder of innocents is antithetical to Jewish law and tradition and must always be opposed by men and women of decency and morality. This merciless act of brutality defiles the name of G-d and desecrates the memories of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel.”
The Orthodox Union, the RCA and Agudath Israel all extended their sympathy and condolences to the family of the victim, as well as hopes and prayers for an end to increasing violence.
“We beseech the Creator, the One who ‘makes peace in His heavens,’ to send us the day soon when peace will reign over the Holy Land,” the Agudath Israel statement concluded.