JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Sephardic chief rabbi said Jews have a “moral obligation” to end the “cruel genocide” taking place in Syria.
Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef was responding on Sunday to reports that up to 150 men, women and children in the Syrian town of Douma, east of capital Damscus, were killed in a chemical attack by government forces.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, a cruel genocide is taking place in Syria, including women and children, with weapons of mass destruction,” Yosef said in a statement on Sunday.
“There is a moral obligation not to remain silent and to try to stop the massacre. As Jews we have been through genocide, as Jews whose Torah is a light to the nations, it is our moral obligation to try to prevent the massacre. This is an obligation no less than the moral obligation was to destroy the nuclear reactor in Syria,” he also said.
Video footage released online showed dead men, women and children lying on floors with white foam around their mouths, signifying possible nerve agents. Other footage showed full clinics where workers were hosing down patients and treating them with respirators, according to the New York Times.
Douma is controlled by a rebel group called the Army of Islam, and is the last holdout in the Damascus area. They Syrian government has expressed its desire to completely rid the area of rebels, the Times reported.
Syrian state news media denied that any chemical weapons had been used, according to the report.
Chief Rabbi: Jews Obligated To End Syrian Genocide