Orthodox Jews come to Kerry's defense

America's largest Orthodox Jewish organizations rose to Secretary of State John Kerry's defense on Wednesday after a group of Israeli rabbis threatened him with “divine wrath.”

The Rabbinical Council of America and the Orthodox Union issued a joint statement repudiating the attacks against America's top diplomat as “extreme and offensive.” Kerry has suffered the brunt of the criticism against U.S. efforts to reach a two-state solution between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

“We, the leadership of the RCA and the OU, repudiate this letter and the rhetoric they have deployed,” the two organizations said in the statement. “While the people of Israel and Jews around the world may properly possess serious concerns about proposals Secretary Kerry is putting forth, such concerns must only be expressed with civility and on the substance of the issues, not degenerating into personal venom and threats.”

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The statement comes after five hard-line rabbis with the Committee to Save the Land and People of Israel sent Kerry an open letter on Sunday declaring that he had declared war on God. They object to Kerry's support for shared control of Jerusalem and Israel's withdrawal from the territories occupied after the 1967 war.

“Your incessant efforts to expropriate integral parts of our Holy Land and hand them over to [Palestinian leader Mahmoud] Abbas’s terrorist gang, amount to a declaration of war against the Creator and Ruler of the universe,” the rabbis wrote. 

“If you continue on this destructive path, you will ensure your everlasting disgrace in Jewish history for bringing calamity upon the Jewish people – like Nebuchadnezer and Titus who destroyed, respectively, the first and second great Temples and the entire Holy City of Jerusalem, and who, by Heavenly punishment, brought eventual disaster upon themselves, too,” they wrote. “By the power of our Holy Torah, we admonish you to cease immediately all efforts to achieve these disastrous agreements – in order to avoid severe Heavenly punishment for everyone involved.”

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