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The Reform Movement in Israel
presented a report to the Knesset Lobby Against Racism on Tuesday about racial
incitement by rabbinical figures.
The report claims that most complaints
against rabbis accused of religious incitement are not investigated.
of 48 complaints filed between 2002 and 2011, the police initiated just 18
criminal investigations, the report says. The remaining complaints were either
dropped prior to investigation or were left unanswered.
In only five
cases were the accused rabbis put on trial, and four of these were ultimately
dropped because the rabbis in question apologized for the
“These rabbis are a minority among rabbis in Israel, but their
number is growing and the legitimacy which they hold must spur action against
them,” said Reform Movement director Anat Hoffman.
“These rabbis are
undermining the foundations of Israeli democracy, fanning hatred and fear and
staining Judaism with hatred of the other.”
The report cites numerous
cases of rabbinic incitement, including one in which Rabbis Yitzhak and David
Batzri addressed a conference in Jerusalem that was intended to prevent the
establishment of a bilingual Hebrew-Arabic school in the city’s Pat
The rabbis said at the conference that “Arabs are a nation
of donkeys, they are Satan and are evil. The question could be asked, ‘Why
didn’t God make them walk on all fours like other donkeys?’ The answer is that
they need to be cleaners and builders, but they need to understand that they are
“Presumably someone who devotes his life to sacred matters must
meet high standards of ethics and morality,” Hoffman said. “But the reality is
that these rabbis are not called to account for actions which would be
considered a violation of the law, if they were made by any other state
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