Rabbi Sacks: Empower Religious Leaders To Stop Continuing Violence in Israel

Religious leaders should step in to lead the way to calm tensions in the Middle East amid the recent wave of terror attacks in Israel and the violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, former Chief Rabbi of the UK, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said on Tuesday.

“There has to be religious voices saying: ‘Guys, you think you’re injuring the enemy, but actually you’re injuring yourselves. And the end result of your violence will be your own children  lose that little sliver of hope they might once have had for a free and dignified future,'” Rabbi Sacks said during an appearance on HuffPost Live to discuss his new book “Not in God’s Name,” which highlights the challenges of confronting religious violence in the modern world.

The former Chief Rabbi explained that this “dangerous, uncertain and unpredictable moment” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “a supreme example why where violence has advanced no cause, had improved no one’s life, and has made it worse for Palestinians and Israelis. This is blind madness. And the end result must be that we have to protest and to do something, not in the name of secular politics only.”

Asked if he feels that the voices of Israeli and Palestinians political leaders are drowning out more tolerant voices, or that too much power had been given to them? Rabbi Sacks replied: “I don’t think enough use has been made of the potential of religious leaders, in and beyond the Middle East, to create a serious track to diplomacy – of the kind that brought peace to Northern Ireland and reconciliation in South Africa.”

“Religious leaders can be peacemakers if they are empowered to do so,” he asserted. “But what happens is that religious leaders sit down together and they all decide that peace is a lovely thing, and they issue declarations, and that doesn’t mesh with any political process whatsoever. So given that we are dealing with religiously-driven hatreds right now, I think you’re going to have to empower religious leaders, and we’ve simply not used that in the Middle East, remotely, as far as it could be done.”

Watch Rabbi Sacks full interview with HuffPost Live below:

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