WASHINGTON (JTA) — Two major U.S. Jewish groups commended Israel for dismantling an illegal settlement and condemned a subsequent attack on a mosque apparently by West Bank Jewish settlers.
The Reform movement’s Religious Action Center and the American Jewish Committee praised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The center in a statement Wednesday lauded Netanyahu for his leadership in calling for the immediate dismantling of the Migron settlement, in accordance with a decision handed down by the Israeli Supreme Court.
"We acknowledge that the court’s decision is unpopular and unwelcome in some quarters, but retaliatory attacks against places of worship, like the recent arson attack against a mosque in Qusra, must be condemned for what they are: criminal acts by criminals," the statement said.
The AJC also slammed the arson.
"To his credit, Prime Minister Netanyahu is doing exactly what he should be doing in a country that cherishes the rule of law — carrying out the Israeli Supreme Court decision that Migron is illegal and must be dismantled," its director, David Harris, said in a statement. "Any such attack on a house of worship is abhorrent, and the perpetrators should be brought to justice as swiftly as possible and to the fullest extent of the law."
Unknown assailants broke windows Monday on the first floor of the mosque near Nablus and threw burning tires into the building before prayers, hours after several hundred police officers had arrived at the Migron outpost several miles north of Jerusalem to raze three permanent homes.
The words "Alei Ayin and Migron — Social Justice" were spray-painted in Hebrew outside the mosque.
The vandalism was believed to be a "price tag" attack, referring to the strategy that extremist settlers have adopted to exact a price in attacks on Palestinians in retribution for settlement freezes and demolitions or for Palestinian attacks on Jews.
Palestinian authorities claim settlers have attacked at least six mosques in the West Bank in the past two years.