Rabbi Steven Wernick, CEO of United Synagogue, made the following statement in response to the recent murder of an Arab teen in Jerusalem:
When I learned that an Arab teen was murdered in Jerusalem, apparently in retaliation for the murder of three Jewish teens, my mind went immediately to the words of Torah we will read in a few weeks: Tzedek, tzedek tirdof, “Justice, justice shall you pursue.” This admonition, perhaps the essence of Jewish values, is part of a legal framework prescribed in the Torah that resonates to this day – a vision of a society ruled by laws, not vengeance, and of “equal justice under law.”
As Jews, as human beings, we must unequivocally condemn the murder of this teen, apparently committed out of vengeance. Whoever murdered Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Sha’ar, and Naftali Frenkel must be brought to justice. So, too, must the murderers of the Arab teenager, Muhammad Abu Khdeir.
The grief we feel is understandable. But if we use it to justify that which we abhor, we will have lost, in addition to our young boys, the very essence of who we are and the values we cherish.