The following peace statement of major religious institutions in the Netherlands was co-authored by Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp

To synagogues, churches, and mosques in the Netherlands

Now that the two parties stated their willingness to cease firing their weapons, we jointly face the task of embarking on the path of peace, both in the Middle East and in our own country. The Hebrew word for Peace and the Arabic word are based on the same group of consonants. There is the same desire for ‘shalom’ and ‘salaam’, for ‘peace’ and ‘wholeness’.

After so many years of suspicion, insecurity, searching, hesitant attempts at living and working together across the demarcation lines, there have been many acts of violence and we see with dismay the shattered face of the other in Sderot and Gaza.

Among Palestinians in the Netherlands there is a great deal of anxiety about the fate of their family members in Gaza. Jews in the Netherlands likewise are gravely concerned about the safety of their family members who live in the areas bordering Gaza. The war in and around Gaza has given rise to emotional and heated discussions, both within the Jewish community and within the Muslim community in the Netherlands. The good relations that have been fostered between Muslims and Jews are coming under pressure. So, too, Christians – there, as here – are not unmoved by this. On the other hand, there is the deep rooted feeling of solidarity with the Jewish people and a secure state of Israel. On the other hand, there is the sympathy with the Palestinian people and their right to an unmenaced future, in their own state.

What we all share in common is the conviction that the child must never be the one to lose out, but should, at long last, be the child of hope on both sides of the demarcation lines. What binds us is the strong desire to actively support the openly expressed intention of the large majority of Israelis and Palestinians to live alongside and with one another in peace, as neighbours. That, at last, a durable solution is found to the conflict between the rights of the one and the rights of the other. That there may be a place where children – no matter what their background – can play in the street without fear of rockets, bombs, or suicide attacks.

We are convinced that the message of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam serves peace. We regard our fellow human beings on Earth as our neighbours whom we are called to love and help. The most profound purpose of our religions is for the peoples of the Earth to treat each other with justice and mercy. Whoever saves one person saves the whole world. The holy scriptures of Judaism, Christianity and Islam each, in their own way, express the golden rule: love your neighbour as yourself.

As representatives of three faith communities in the Netherlands, we have already for some time been cooperating with regard to the message of mutual dependence in society. We reject polarization. At Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year, and Muharram (The Islamic New Year), we jointly witnessed to peace. Our religions seek an opening by pursuing the path of dialogue. In this situation, courage is needed to engage in conversation with each other, to listen to the other and the pain, anger, and sorrow and fear felt by the other, but also to the hope which the other carries within him or her. This is the only way that truly leads to peace.

The Central Jewish Board (CJO)
The Council of Churches in the Netherlands (RKN)
The Contact Committee Muslims and Government (CMO)

The Soetendorp Institute


Jacob Soetendorp Institute for Human Values
Van Wijngaerdenstraat 21
2596 TW The Hague
The Netherlands