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January 4th: From Jerusalem To the World

"On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations." - May 14, 1948. The Declaration of the Establishment of Israel

What the ancient Hebrew Prophets have said, remains current today:


"From Moses to Jeremiah and Isaiah, the Prophets taught...that the Jewish claim on the land of Israel was totally contingent on the moral and spiritual life of the Jews who lived there, and that the land would, as the Torah tells us, 'vomit you out' if people did not live according to the highest moral vision of Torah. Over and over again, the Torah repeated its most frequently stated mitzvah [command]: "When you enter your land, do not oppress the stranger; the other, the one who is an outsider of your society, the powerless one and then not only 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself' but also 'you shall love the other.'" [1]


"Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and sin."-Moses, Exodus 34:9


"Hear O Israel: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you are to be upon your heart."-Deuteronomy 6:4-6


"But if your hearts turn away and you are not obedient…I declare to you this day that you will be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess." Deuteronomy 30:17-18


"My thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways declares the Lord."-Isaiah 55:8


"For I the Lord love JUSTICE! I hate robbery and inequity."-Isaiah 62:8


"I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable."-Jeremiah 2:7


"On your clothes men find the blood of the innocent poor."-Isaiah 2:34


"My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil."-Jeremiah 4:22


"Stand at the crossroads and look! Seek the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…Nations; observe…Hear O earth; I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes because they have NOT listened to my words and have rejected my law."-Jeremiah 6:16-19


"There is terror on every side. O my people…They are hardened rebels."-Jeremiah 6:25, 28

"What does God require? He has told you o'man! Be just, be merciful, and walk humbly with your Lord." -Micah 6:8


"If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with all others justly, if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless, the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place…then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever."-Jeremiah 7:5-7


"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to make you prosper and not harm you; plans to give you HOPE for a future."-Jeremiah 19:11




And "HOPE has two children. The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it."-St. Augustine





“In the Holy Land there are many walls and of all kinds…The Walls around us will not fall flat if we all do not pray and work to make the walls within us disappear.”- Dr. Bernard Sabella.


This Sunday, January 4, 2008, is an international day of fasting and prayer for Gaza called by the Patriarchs, Bishops and the Heads of the Christian Churches in Jerusalem.


They wrote "with deep concern, regret, and shock the war currently raging in the Gaza Strip and the subsequent destruction, murder and bloodshed, especially at a time when we celebrate Christmas, the birth of the King of love and peace. As we express our deep sorrow at the renewed cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians and the continued absence of peace in our Holy Land, we denounce the ongoing hostilities in the Gaza Strip and all forms of violence and killings from all parties. We believe that the continuation of this bloodshed and violence will not lead to peace and justice but breed more hatred and hostility - and thus continued confrontation between the two peoples.


"Accordingly, we call upon all officials of both parties to the conflict to return to their senses and refrain from all violent acts, which only bring destruction and tragedy, and urge them instead to work to resolve their differences through peaceful and non-violent means.


"We also call upon the international community to fulfill its responsibilities and intervene immediately and actively stop the bloodshed and end all forms of confrontation; to work hard and strong to put an end to the current confrontation and remove the causes of conflict between the two peoples; and to finally resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a just and comprehensive solution based on international resolutions.


"To the various Palestinian factions we say: It is time to end your division and settle your differences. We call on all factions at this particular time to put the interests of the Palestinian people above personal and factional interests and to move immediately toward national comprehensive reconciliation and use all non-violent means to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in the region.


"Finally, we raise our prayers to the Child in the manger to inspire the authorities and decision makers on both sides, the Israelis and Palestinians, for immediate action to end the current tragic situation in the Gaza Strip. We pray for the victims, the wounded and the broken-hearted. May the Lord God Almighty grant all those who have lost loved ones consolation and patience. We pray for all those living in panic and fear, that God may bless them with calm, tranquility and true peace.


"We call on all to observe next Sunday, January 4, as a day for justice and peace in the land of peace."


"Blessed are the Peacemakers: They are the daughters and sons of God."-Jesus, another Hebrew Prophet, Matthew 5:9.

1. Rabbi Lerner, TIKKUN Magazine, page 35, Sept./Oct. 2007

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