At interfaith meet, Israel chief rabbi assails world religious leaders on terror
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At interfaith meet, Israel chief rabbi assails world religious leaders on terror

Speaking at international summit in Kazakhstan, Yitzhak Yosef says those who stay silent after terror attacks are ‘effectively identifying’ with them

Israel's Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef speaking at the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Astana, Kazakhstan on October 10, 2018. (Chief Rabbinate of Israel)
Israel's Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef speaking at the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Astana, Kazakhstan on October 10, 2018. (Chief Rabbinate of Israel)

In a fiery speech, Israel’s Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzkak Yosef on Wednesday confronted the world’s religious leaders and accused them of failing to condemn terror attacks, saying that silence after such acts was akin to condoning them.

Rabbi Yosef was speaking at the sixth installation of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Astana, Kazakhstan, organized by the country’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev.

“In the event of a terror incident, our voice as spiritual leaders must be heard loud and clear,” he told the audience, which included dozens of religious leaders from various countries including the United States, European nations, Iran, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

“We mustn’t stay silent. That silence is akin to effectively identifying with terror,” Yosef said.

World religious leaders, including Israel’s Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef (first row center), taking a group photo at the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Astana, Kazakhstan on October 10, 2018. (Chief Rabbinate of Israel)

“I call on leaders of every country to condemn all terror attacks in the world,” he added.

Yosef ended his speech with the traditional Jewish blessing: “May He who makes peace in His high heavens grant peace to us and to all Israel. Amen.” He then adding the phrase “inshallah,” the Arabic expression for “God willing.”

The Chief Rabbinate said in a statement that the speech was met with lengthy applause, and that leaders then came up to him and thanked him.

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