Hate Crimes in Israel: ICCJ Statement

As our Berlin Document: A Time for Re-commitment states, “Spurred by the Seelisberg initiative, we have worked to overcome the legacy of prejudice, hatred and mutual distrust.” The ICCJ has been at the forefront of the fight against antisemitism in many parts of the world and we will contiunue to do so. In recent years we have added to our agenda the struggle against Islamophobia.

At the same time, we cannot ignore a wave of hate crimes spreading throughout the State of Israel, directed against Arabs in general, Muslims, and Christians, both local and others. These crimes, that have included graffiti and vandalism and now even a death threat against the Catholic Bishop of Nazareth, have increased greatly in the past several months, to the extent of weekly and almost daily occurrences.

The Council of Religious Institutions in the Holy Land sends out condemnations, as do some government officials, but very little happens in the way of apprehending the perpetrators. Even if they are a tiny group of extremists apparently mostly teenagers, they must be brought to justice and these incidents must stop.

As Israel prepares to celebrate its 66th anniversary, much more must be done to fulfill the ideals stated within its own Declaration of Independence, which promises equality “for all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex”; “freedom of religion and conscience, and safeguarding the Holy Places of all religions.”

For further information we invite you to visit the website and the blog of our member organization The Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI).