In an address in the presence of Russian President Vladmir Putin, Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar asked him to help free the hostages in Gaza, and thanked him for leading the fight against antisemitism in the country.
Against the backdrop of the current situation in Israel, Russian President Vladimir Putin convened religious leaders in Russia, including Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar, along with representatives of various faiths and other dignitaries.
Chief Rabbi Lazar delivered a fiery address about the plight of the Jews in Israel and around the world, including right there in Russia. The assembled, including President Putin, closely listened to every word.
In his speech, Rabbi Lazar called to strengthen the struggle against extremism and forcefully stated that terror organizations must be isolated and destroyed.
“Mr. President! Every believer knows that nothing in life happens by chance. We are gathered here today, shortly before November 4, which is designated as ‘National Unity Day.’ National unity is what distinguishes Russia. Here, everyone feels a mutual sense of peace and respect among people of diverse cultures and different faiths,” Rabbi Lazar said.
“In many other countries, not only are there no joint projects, but people cannot even sit together at the same table. But, thanks to Divine grace, here in Russia, it has been a long-standing tradition to join together, and in recent years, it has become even more significant. In Russia, we do not have this tension, there is no enmity between one another.
“People here do not take to the streets with protests in support of terrorist organizations because we all know that those protests serve the extremists everywhere. Even when planning a demonstration that is supposed to be a peaceful protest, in reality, it often leads to violence.
“It is vital that our meeting today sends a clear message: ‘We are in favor of mutual respect, friendship, and cooperation, but we will not be tolerant toward those who are themselves intolerant and advocate extremism and violence.’ Unfortunately, the line between hatred and violence is very thin. The ideology of hatred always leads to violence and terror. Thank G-d, we have not experienced state-sponsored anti-Semitism for many years, and there is no anti-Semitism on the streets, but we have experience from the past. Therefore, our main request to the authorities, both federal and local, is an unwavering and uncompromising battle against extremism.
“Just a few days ago, we marked the 80th anniversary of the Sobibor Nazi extermination camp uprising. Red Army officer Alexander Pechersky, who organized the revolt, knew that one cannot compromise when evil prevails and that one must protect oneself and those around from the inhumane control of murderers.
“We all pray for peace and hope that there will be no more wars. But peace with murderers is, by definition, impossible. Therefore, as we mourn and grieve for the hundreds of innocent victims who were killed by terrorists on October 7 and as we pray for the release of over two hundred hostages, we know that there can be no negotiation or compromise with terrorists. Every terrorist organization must be isolated and dismantled. Peace among religions, as it exists in Russia, is only possible when terrorists do not hold sway! In Russia, thank G-d, the fight against terrorists is strong, and the results are evident. The experience here serves as a good example for both the Middle East and other regions facing similar issues,” he said.
The Chief Rabbi’s words were delivered with great emotion and resonated with millions of viewers across Russia, generating substantial interest and attention.
Photos: Kremlin Spokesperson’s Office