(Clearwisdom.net) On February 18, 2008, the "Human Rights Torch Relay" initiated by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) arrived in Israel, and a torch relay ceremony was held in downtown Tel Aviv. Religious and ethnic leaders jointly supported the "Human Rights Torch Relay" and signed an urgent appeal to demand the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to immediately stop human rights violations such as harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners, and other atrocities.
The International Human Rights Torch was officially lit in Athens, Greece on August 9, 2007. Since then, the Human Rights Torch Relay has visited several dozen countries and regions, including Europe and the USA, Asia and Australia. The aim of the one-year long Human Rights Torch Relay is to appeal for the world's attention to China's human rights violations, and stop the CCP's persecution of Falun Gong and other groups.
The Israelis who participated in the Human Rights Torch Relay rally said that due to tensions between religions, it's quite rare to see different religious leaders appear at the same activity to support the same thing. Therefore, it was really special that the religious leaders jointly signed the urgent appeal.
Rabbi Chaim A. Cohen, from Rabbis for Human Rights stated, "This is our duty to be together, to realize that we all one and we are sharing this all together and if we violate the human rights of one individual we violate the human rights of everybody because we are all together, all created in the image of God."
Sheikh Zinaldin Farouk, leader of Israeli Cherkessians, a community in north Israel stated, "We heard that what's happening in China is a big horror and so the world will have to stand all together as one to stop the horrors going on there. It's especially even more important because the Europeans and the whole world agreed to choose Beijing to host the Olympics. Because such horrors take place there, this is a big shame for the whole world."
Father Abu Hatoum is a minister of the Greek Melekite Church in Nazareth, 88 miles north of Jerusalem. He said that when he heard about the situation in China, he decided to act, because it's very important to him to love and help all people facing persecution.
Religious leaders from different places in Israel held a special hearing on February 18. Mr. David Kilgour from Canada, one of the authors of the investigative report titled, "Bloody Harvest--Revised Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China," Jennifer Zeng from Australia, a survivor of China's Forced Labor Camp system, and representative of the US-based "World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong," Xia Yiyang, respectively talked to the attendees about the CCP's harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners and the CCP's persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in forced labor camps in China. After the hearing, the religious leaders jointly signed an urgent appeal to demand the CCP immediate stop committing crimes against humanity.
The religious leaders who signed the appeal included Sheikh Abed Elsalam Manasra, General Secretary of the High Sufi Council in the Holy Land, Sheikh Aqel El' Atrash, head of the Association for Peace and Coexistence, Rabbi Arik Ascherman, CEO of the Rabbis For Human Rights, Rabbi Daniel Shiloo from Qdumim, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari, Leader of Uzbeq community, Jerusalem, Mr. Eliyahu Mclean, interfaith peacemaker, Jerusalem, Haj Ibrahim Abu Elhawa, ambassador of goodwill from the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem.