Israeli Arab leader Mansour Abbas, head of the Islamic Ra’am party, visited a synagogue in the city of Lod that was burned by Arab rioters several days ago and said he would help with its restoration, stating that the values of Islam demand it.
Israeli news site N12 reported that, during his visit to the Dosa Synagogue, Abbas said, “We are willing to take part in restoring the synagogues that were harmed. I will lead it.”
Explaining his reasons for the visit, Abbas said, “It returns me to the values of Islam. Even in a time of war, the principles of Islam say it is forbidden to harm holy places. So, as we are angry and pained when there is harm to mosques, we are angry and pained when there is harm to synagogues.”
“Especially,” he said, “if it comes from Muslims — because we are not like that. Islam is not like that, and true Muslims are not like these.”
“Therefore, I came to Lod,” he continued. “I sat with the Arab residents, I visited the city’s great mosque, and I saw what was in the mosque — we have to look forward and start the restoration of the holy sites, because this touches our inner feelings.”
Abbas said relations between Arabs and Jews must be restored as well, in order “to treat the spiritual trauma that people have, to restore the infrastructure, especially the holy sites, and of course the relationship between people.”
He condemned the burning of synagogues unequivocally, saying, “I think it was a mistake by a minority and a small group — I don’t want to give them an alibi or understanding — there is no way it is acceptable. Like we Muslims hurt when our mosques are harmed … we must also understand the other side of this issue.”
Yair Revivo, the mayor of Lod, praised Abbas’ “noble act” in coming to the synagogue, and said he showed the kind of leadership “we need so badly.”
“Abbas from my point of view is a reason for optimism after this entire insane week we have gone through,” he said.
“I’m very emotional about it,” Revivo said of Abbas’ visit, “because I don’t find a lot of people who would do it.”
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Author: Benjamin Kerstein
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