(Minghui.org) A special prayer service was held on the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem on February 16, 2020, for the sake of those suffering from the coronavirus pandemic. Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Safed, initiated the effort. Among those gathered for the prayer were rabbis, representatives of the Chinese Embassy in Israel, and citizens.

Most speakers asked for God’s mercy for the Chinese people and for the whole world in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. Rabbi Oury Cherki from Jerusalem also offered a prayer, but having been aware for many years of the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Chinese regime, he said, “In our prayers, we contemplate on our sins, and so should the Chinese people—it should be their day of reckoning in light of the importance of human life and its immeasurable sacredness.”

After the event, Rabbi Cherki wrote on his website:

“…at the mass prayer service held next to our holy temple in Jerusalem for the Chinese people, I was given a chance to address words of admonishment to the heads of the Chinese state, who should awaken and repent. When masses of lives, as many as fish in the sea, have been lost, one should awaken and think whether the contempt for human lives, organ harvesting, and indiscriminate killing of masses of protesters may have brought disaster upon the Chinese nation. Just as we should scrutinize our actions in times of trouble, and add thoughts of repentance to our prayers, so we call on the Chinese people to pray and repent.”

Rabbi Cherki was one of the first rabbis in Israel who protested the forced organ harvesting in China and signed a petition calling for it to end. In light of the current situation, it is chilling to recall the words he said at an event that was held at the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in April 2013, “The strength of a nation is first and foremost measured by its moral and ethical standards. If there are no moral or ethical standards at its foundation, the state might be temporarily strong, but it will eventually weaken, because it will lose its legitimacy.”

That 2013 event was sponsored by then-Knesset Member Moshe Feiglin, who denounced the persecution on many different occasions. Cherki also said at the event, “It is impossible that in an age of moral international relations we should not be lagging behind Canada and the U.S. We are the people who brought to the world the gospel that morality can guide politics. After all, we are the first nation to enact in its statute book, at this Knesset here, a law that says that an order which contradicts basic moral standards should be deemed illegal. This should be our guiding light, not only in our internal affairs, but also in our international relations.”

In a 2013 interview with NTD Television, Rabbi Cherki emphasized that he thinks that Israeli political and influential leaders should consider themselves committed to this issue, and that Israel should address the Chinese regime’s leaders and demand that they stop these crimes.

On July 22, 2007, at an event commemorating eight years of the persecution of Falun Gong, Rabbi Cherki said in front of the Chinese Embassy in Tel Aviv, “My conscience would not let me stay at home.” In addressing the persecution and forced organ harvesting, he said, “We must not keep silent in such situations.” Rabbi Cherki encouraged every person to protest so that those who commit these crimes would be brought to justice.

It should be noted that many rabbis in Israel raised their voices in support and signed petitions calling for an end to the crimes against humanity that have been taking place in China for many years.