Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav, enveloped in an atmosphere of sorrow and mourning since last night, issued this announcement:
"With deep shock and sorrow, we announce the abominable murder of our holy and precious students, blossoming cedars at the height of their strength, as they held texts of Torah in their hands. This horrific murder occurred in the heart of Jerusalem, in the great Torah center, in the holy of holies of the nation, the heart of the State of Israel. It is part of the long-running war waged by the Arabs against the very existence of the Nation of Israel and the Torah of Israel.
"These holy boys were felled in the Sanctification of G-d's Name, in the battle for the building of our nation in its Land. They have the status of national martyrs 'in whose presence no creature can stand' [as our Sages teach].
"This monstrous attack must bring about a major and substantial change. We call upon and demand from the Government of Israel to wake up and to fight to the end, without mercy, against the enemies of Israel.
"This is a terrible crisis! It is one of private mourning and of national mourning. But the Yeshiva will continue its path of study, teaching, growing and disseminating the Torah of Israel in our complete and holy Land of Israel."
Yeshiva Leading to Universal Redemption
Merkaz HaRav was founded as the Central Universal Yeshiva by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook in 1924. He saw it as the ultimate Torah center in which to raise Torah scholars and leaders who would help build a modern Torah society in the Land of Israel that would lead to universal and religious redemption.
When Rabbi Kook, who also served as the Chief Rabbi of the Holy Land, passed away in 1935, he was succeeded by his colleague/student, Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Charlop. Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, son of the original founder, took over in 1952, and served until his death in 1982. He was then succeeded by Rabbi Sha'ul Yisraeli and Rabbi Avraham Shapira; the latter took over as sole Rosh Yeshiva when Rabbi Yisraeli died, and Rabbi Yaakov Shapira took over from his father, who died just five months ago.
Merkaz, as it is known, is famous for its very spiritual, Torah-centered, love-of-Israel atmosphere. The vast study hall is packed with books, benches, book-stands (shtenders), and, almost throughout the day and night, students. Many of the students have completed their army service and some are IDF officers.
Thousands of Merkaz graduates saturate Israeli public life as rabbis, rabbinical court judges, army officers, professors, teachers and educators in many dozens of schools and yeshivot around the country. Rabbi Avraham Kook is considered the father of the entire movement of re-awakened religious nationalism.