May 16, 2002

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Rabbis for Human Rights, an advocacy and education group in Israel, and its North American sister organization, have expressed concern for the ``moral well-being'' of the Jewish state as Mideast violence drags on.

The group supports Israel's right to self-defense and condemns suicide bombings, but also works to help Palestinians, urging that medicine and food be delivered to civilians in the territories.

``It is important that the silent center of American Jewry - those who love Israel and yet are heartsick about some of the scenes of devastation - be represented, ``said Rabbi Brian Walt, of the North American wing of the advocacy group.

In a statement this month, the group said the survival of the Jewish people will be determined ``not only by its physical acumen, but also, by its moral steadfastness.''

The organization represents clergy from Orthodox, Reform, Conservative and other smaller branches of Judaism.