“The Creation of Adam” By Michelangelo – Public Domain
And God created man in God’s image, in the image of God created God man; male and female created God them (Genesis 1:27)
As Jews and as rabbis, we understand that human rights are indivisible. God created all people in the Divine Image and so endowed all of us with the fundamental rights that flow from our inherent worth as images of God’s Self. For this reason, acts of killing which are not strictly for self-defense – whether carried out by governments or by terrorist groups – are acts of rebellion against God. Such acts go against God’s decision to make us all in the Divine Image. No cause justifies it. No person, organization or government committed to God-given values can support it. For this reason, the law against murder is included in the Noahide Laws, the Talmudic statement on behavior that constitutes human beings’ shared a moral heritage, whatever our background and ethnicity.
We call on all parties to the national dispute afflicting the peoples who live in our Land to prioritize the recognition of the image of God even among rivals and enemies. We call on governments and religious leaders to cease the glorification of murderers, whatever the cause they sought to serve. We call on religious leaders to redouble our work of teaching the ways of peace, even when violence and conflict threaten us on a daily basis.
We call on governments, international organizations and religious leaders to take the lead in rejecting the de-legitimation of the other side’s religious traditions and sense of belonging to its Holy Places – be they Jewish, Muslim or Christian traditions. This is not the road to peace.
We see this responsibility of leadership as a personal one, whatever may be the dysfunctions of states, non-state groups, religious establishments and so on.
As Rabbi Hillel taught us:
“In a place where no one behaves like a full human, strive to be a human” (Pirkei Avot 3:5)