The head of a world churches body which has been highly critical of the policies of the state of Israel toward the Palestinians has unequivocally condemned the recent bomb outrage in Jerusalem.
"We express our sincere sorrow and sympathy to the families of those who were killed or injured in the shootings last week at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem," said World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary the Rev Samuel Kobia on 10 March 2008, joining his voice to those of the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem.
He declared: "An attack on a Jewish seminary has a profound impact on all people of faith. The World Council of Churches strongly condemns this attack."
Referring to a statement issued one week ago condemning the attacks on civilians in the Gaza strip and Israel, he reiterated his call for the "incessant violations of life and human rights to stop." "Such acts of terror are abhorrent," he said. "A grim reminder of the continuing cycle of violence, they increase the sense of grief, sorrow, anger and outrage among both Israelis and Palestinians."
"Despite the tragic consequences of this situation, rather than allow it to inflame more violence, we pray that it will encourage all those concerned to redouble their efforts, to all the more vigorously pursue peace." said Kobia.
The Mercaz Harav Yeshiva seems to have been targetted because it is seen as an "ideological hub" of the hardline Israeli pro-settler movement, which is seen by critics as a bulwark against the denying of justice to the Palestinians and an end to the illegal occupation of their land.
See also: WCC "absolutely condemns" attacks on civilians in Gaza and Israel
More information on WCC work to accompany churches in the Middle East