NEW YORK – Reacting to Israeli national-religious Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu’s comments Friday in Olam Katan, an Israeli conservative and religious weekly newsletter, that the deadly earthquake in Türkiye and Syria is “divine justice,” World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said:
“I am aghast and appalled by the horrific comments made by Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu. It is inconceivable to me that any human being of any decency, let alone a man who presents himself as a spiritual leader, would not be devastated by the tragic deaths of by now more than 28,000 men, women and children.
“His contention that he believes not only these deaths but all catastrophes and tragedies to be God’s will fills me with enormous pain, bordering on despair. I, for one, believe in a God of goodness and compassion, and I join the nation and people of Türkiye and the Syrian people in both mourning the lives lost and praying that the survivors can find some solace in the memories of their loved ones. Now is a moment for us to commit ourselves to helping and supporting one another, not for the stoking of hatred and divisiveness.”
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