The lobby acting against “Price Tag” attacks held a meeting in the Knesset on December 26, 2016 in order to mark the five years since the founding of the organization “Tag Meir (Light Tag), which fights phenomena of hate and racism. Latin Patriarchal Vicar, Father David Neuhaus, participated.

tag meir knesset

The chairman of the lobby, Member of Knesset Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Camp), and his deputy, Member of Knesset Merav Ben Ari (All of us), welcomed all those who had been invited by the Tag Meir organization to the Knesset. The aim of the lobby to help promote legislation against the phenomenon of the Price Tag, hate crimes and racism, and to raise a public and clear voice against this phenomenon, saying that this is not the way of Judaism. The meeting of lobby focused on giving an ear to the enlightening voices of religion. This in the light of the fact that in the past few years, society is witness to the increasing phenomenon of clerics inciting to acts of violence under cover of religious writings. Violence, supposedly carried out in the name of God is a desecration of God’s name, an injustice to those God created and contempt for faith.

Twelve members of Knesset participated in the meeting, walking in and out of the hall during the discussion. The founder and head of the organization “Tag Meir”, Dr. Gadi Gevaryahu , also welcomed the invitees. The organization presented to the Members of Knesset a comparative study entitled “Incitement to racism by clerics: gaps in law enforcement between Jews and Muslims”. Those invited included Rabbi Yaacov Negan from Othniel, Shaykh Muadh Odeh, deputy of the head of the Ahmadiyyah community in Israel, Rabbanit Adina Bar Shalom, Father David Neuhaus, Latin Patriarchal Vicar, Rabbi Gilad Kariv, head of the Reform movement in Israel, Rabbi Tamar Elad Appelbaum, head of the Zion Kehilla, Ibtissam Mahamid from Furdis and many others.

We publish here the words of Father David Neuhaus on this occasion:

“Happy feast of light to all present – Christmas to the Christians, Hannuka to the Jews and the Prophet’s birthday, celebrated a few days ago, for our Muslim friends.

God created heaven and earth and the first act of creation was the creation of light with the word (a single word in Hebrew), “Let it be”. With one word, God created the visible and the invisible.

I often travel on Highway 1, which links Jerusalem to Tel Aviv and I tend to reflect regularly on the sign that appears on this road: “Words can kill” – a sign that warns against texting messages while driving. The word of God gives life, creates and opens the horizons. However, our words also create a world but, often. Our words do not create or give life but rather destroy and kill, weaving a discourse of hate and a teaching of contempt with regard to the other, the one who is different from myself because of his religion, his belief or his national or cultural identity.

As clerics, we need to be conscious of the power that our words have. They can set aflame hatred and contempt but they can also make peace and establish justice. We have no direct authority but we do have wide influence in society. Let us take courage and dare to take responsibility. Let us weigh every word that comes out of our mouths, every syllable we speak, every expression that is the fruit of our pens, so that the word might be one that repairs a broken world, contributing to the light, which can conquer darkness.

If we magnify the light with our words, perhaps the members of our communities might see, with the help of this light, that all humanity, without distinction of religion, skin color or national, ethnic or other belonging, has been created in the image of God. With the help of the light emanating from our words and actions, the members of our communities will discern in the face of the other, even in the face of the one we call “enemy” the resemblance of the Father, Creator of heaven and earth, who is waiting for us on high to discover that we are brothers and sisters.”