Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau on Monday condemned the murder of Mohammed Abu Khder, an Arab teenager from Jerusalem who was found burned to death last Wednesday.
Rabbi Lau's statements, made at the start of a Chief Rabbinate Council meeting, came in response to reports Monday morning that three of the six suspects who were arrested over suspicion of involvement in the murder confessed under interrogation to the murder. Security services described the six as "Jewish extremists."
The murder is "not the way of the Torah," declared Rabbi Lau in sharp condemnation of the murder, which is thought to have been an act of "revenge" for the murder of three Israeli teens Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Sha'ar by Hamas terrorists on June 12.
The rabbi also addressed the widespread violent Arab riots that have been ongoing since the murder last Wednesday, calling on Arab leaders to actively stop the escalation of violence.
"There's no room to continue the spilling of blood by all sides - and there must be action to calm the public," stated Rabbi Lau.
Rabbi Lau last Wednesday similarly called for restraint, saying "the discourse about revenge is wrong morally, ethically and halakhically. We have to trust that the security forces will do their job properly and not think at all about taking revenge which can lead the entire region down a dangerous path."
“Our revenge will be in the punishment of the murderers and in continuing the wonderful way of uniting hearts and strengthening the Jewish faith,” added the rabbi.
Since the murder, Arab rioters have violently attacked security forces and Jewish residents, and destroyed three Jerusalem Light Rail train stations; they were encouraged by Abu Khder's mother last Friday, who called for violent "revenge" against Israelis, saying such violence was "concern for the Palestinian people."
Abu Khder's mother added that the rioting, which has also included multiple incidents of suspected arson terrorism and an ongoing rocket barrage from Gaza, are a form of Arab residents "exercising their rights."
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas likewise stoked the violence, as his Fatah faction immediately responded to the murder by calling for violent "revolution."