(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Knesset Security gave MK Elazar Stern (Hatnua) bodyguards on Monday, after
several cases of incitement and threats against the lawmaker.
troubles began two weeks ago, when he criticized Rabbi Dov Lior, chief rabbi of
Kiryat Arba and a leading rabbi of the ultraconservative hardal segment of
Stern submitted a motion to the agenda on stricter
conversion policies, saying that Lior said “Ethiopians are not Jewish” and “Woe
to you if your son marries an Ethiopian woman, she isn’t
“Shouldn’t we say enough, we’re sick of this, he isn’t our
rabbi, the State of Israel cannot continue paying him, there are limits to what
we can stand,” Stern said in the plenum. “I hope our Ethiopian soldiers, our
Ethiopian friends, residents of the State of Israel will not be hurt by these
words and understand that they are not the Torah of Israel that most of the
nation believes in.”
Stern added that “if someone knows what a
desecration of God’s name is, that is what Rabbi Dov Lior did once
Two days later, a 17-yearold spat at Stern and called him a
heretic in his synagogue in the Lower Galilee community of Hoshaya, saying “this
is for Rabbi Dov Lior.”
Stern complained about the assailant to the
police, saying that he is sure the boy does not represent religious- Zionist
youth, but that “we cannot ignore the phenomenon or the dangers it
Last week, 100 rabbis and mayors from Judea and Samaria signed
a letter saying that Lior never said Ethiopians are not Jewish and demanded that
Stern remove his parliamentary immunity so they can sue him for libel. Another
group of hardal rabbis put out a notice declaring Stern a “heretic who
disrespects the Torah” as long as he does not apologize to Lior.
told Army Radio on Sunday that he can prove what he said is true and he’d be
happy to face Lior in court.
Also Sunday, the Ministerial Committee for
Legislation approved a bill proposed by Stern to expand the number of rabbis
that can conduct conversions, which angered stringent rabbis. Neither chief
rabbi supports Stern’s bill.