The statement specifically cited a senior Zionist rabbi's directive to disregard compassion toward Palestinian civilians in wartime and to intensify attacks.
"Do not concern yourselves with the Palestinian civilians in Gaza during wartime. You must attack them with all severity, without being swayed by compassion or mercy. Your only duty is to protect our citizens and soldiers."
It highlighted the role of rabbis, including Rabbi Dov Lior and Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, in undermining the ceasefire and escalating aggression against Gaza.
The observatory emphasized the ideological underpinnings of the Israeli occupation, shedding light on religious rhetoric fueling the ongoing genocide and “exposing the real intentions of the Israeli occupation which are way too far from the idea of achieving peace in the region.”
It debunked attempts by Israeli leaders and Western media to describe the war as solely a response to Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on 7 October, disassociating it from religious doctrines ingrained in Zionist ideology, to justify the ongoing genocide, the observatory explained.
The observatory detailed how selected Torah verses were interpreted to advocate for the extermination of Palestinians and to reject prisoner exchange deals, thus perpetuating the conflict.
It pointed to the use of one story in which the Canaanites took ancient Israelis captives during war and the Israelis vowed to destroy the Canaanite cities if God delivered them to victory on the battlefield.
The observatory also cited another religious ruling of one Israeli rabbi that said: “The correct path before us today is to continue the war with all our strength without stopping, and to strive for the extermination of the Palestinians and increase pressure on them as much as possible, to reach a point of control.”
The Al-Azhar statement explained how these religious rulings were exploited by factions within the Israeli government, such as the Otzma Yehudit party led by Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir.
The minister threatened to withdraw from the party if another ceasefire was reached, writing on X: “cease-fire = government dissolution.”
According to the observatory, this sentiment was also echoed by the Minister of Development of the Negev and Galilee Yitzhak Wasserlauf from the Otzma Yehudit party, stating: "The government's dissolution will not be in the name of six Knesset members but in the name of Jews.”
Al-Azhar, the world’s leading Sunni Islamic institution, has repeatedly condemned Israel’s war since 7 October and stressed the importance of protecting Palestinian civilians.
Al-Azhar urged the international community to stop applying double standards to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, mourning Palestinian “martyrs” and praising their resistance.
Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayyeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar, also condemned the tactics of the Israeli war, denouncing the bombardment, killings, and cutting of electricity and internet connections as blatant terrorism and a clear violation of legal and humanitarian principles.
Moreover, Al-Azhar encouraged supporting innocent Palestinian civilians and described it as a moral and humanitarian obligation.
It has dispatched two humanitarian aid convoys as part of its Save Gaza campaign to relieve the stifling Israeli siege on the strip.