The World Jewish Congress (WJC) has reacted with shock at the news that the murder of an Arab teenager near Jerusalem last week was probably committed by Jewish extremists who wanted to ‘avenge’ the murder of the three Israeli teens near Hebron in June. Israeli police on Sunday arrested several Jews in connection with the brutal killing of 16-year-old Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir. Referring to Jewish extremists in Israel, WJC President Ronald Lauder urged the authorities “to clamp down against this ‘enemy from within’. Nothing can justify such actions. These people pose a serious threat to Israel's democracy.”
Lauder added: “Murder is murder, whether committed by an Arab or a Jew, and whether perpetrated against an Arab or a Jew. Just as we were shocked and disgusted by the murder of Naphtali, Eyal and Gilad, we are horrified by the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir. Those who committed this crime must be severely punished and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. They have sullied fundamental Jewish principles.”
The WJC president highlighted the fact that in contrast to many in the Palestinian territories, no Israeli leader was glorifying the murder of the teenager. “Israel does not name streets after terrorists, it does not celebrate criminal acts, and it does not incite people to avenge such acts. What Israel does is arrest the killers and put them behind bars,” said Lauder.
The chairman of the World Jewish Congress-Israel, Shai Hermesh, urged calm. “The last thing we need now is the death of more innocent people. Let’s not forget that Jews and Arabs have no alternative but have to live together in this small land, and let’s make sure that the law is upheld to protect all citizens,” Hermesh said.