January 9, 2015
Dear Friend of Israel,
Justice has been done. The gunmen responsible for the massacre of 12 at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris have been killed by French police; and another radical Islamist, who held six people hostage at a kosher market in Paris has also been killed. Sadly, four hostages were killed in the latter assault.
If these audacious and despicable attacks teach us anything, the lesson was summed up for us by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a video address to the French people: “The attacks of radical Islam know no boundaries … The terrorists want to destroy our freedoms and our civilization.” Another one of our strongest world leaders, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, echoed Netanyahu’s words, when he said, “The international jihadist movement has declared war … They have declared war on any country like ourselves that values freedom, openness, and tolerance … And we may not like this and wish it would go away, but it is not going to go away and the reality is that we are going to have to confront it.”
As Christians and Jews, we are all part of this fight, and it is a fight we must engage in – and win – together. Our response must be clear and unambiguous, and we must speak with one voice. As Jews and Christians we should be just as quick to defend the principle of individual rights – a principle based on our shared Judeo-Christian heritage – as others are to attack them. We must be as quick to reject violence in defense of some misbegotten idea of faith as others are to resort to it. And we must redouble our efforts to fight terror wherever and whenever it occurs.
France – and all of Europe – has been experiencing a dramatic and disturbing rise in anti-Semitism and radical Islamism, and these recent attacks are just the most recent, and most disturbing, examples. The Fellowship will redouble our efforts to provide security to Jewish institutions, and to support aliyah (immigration to Israel) for those Jews who wish to experience the safety and self-determination of living in their biblical and spiritual homeland, Israel. Together – with the help of our dedicated Christian friends around the world – we will not fail.
Today, I ask you to pray for the loved ones of those murdered in these cowardly attacks in Paris, the latest in a long series of radical Islamist atrocities. And pray for the day when those atrocities will finally cease, and God will bless us, and His entire world, with His most precious gift – the gift of shalom, peace.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein