One of the leading figures in the national-religious community, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, called on Sunday for the imposition of the death penalty for Palestinians involved in terrorist activities as a way of preventing future kidnappings and other terrorist attacks.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Aviner, head of the Ateret Yerushalayim Yeshiva in the Jerusalem’s Old City and the rabbi of the Beit El settlement, said the solution to the issue of kidnappings must address root causes.
“Terrorists need to know that it is not worthwhile to participate in terrorist activities and that if they do so they will pay dearly, that they and all those involved in the crime will pay dearly,” said the rabbi, who is part of the conservative wing of the national-religious movement.
“Bowing down to terror only brings more terror.... The death penalty should be used as a way of dissuading terrorism,” Aviner said.
“At the moment, terrorists who are caught sit in jail, eat good food, study for university degrees and then are released and hailed as national heroes,” the rabbi said.
Aviner echoed a call made earlier on Sunday by another senior national-religious figure, Rabbi Haim Druckman, who asked that people stop hitchhiking.
Hitchhiking is widely used around the settlements of Judea and Samaria as an alternative to public transport, and the issue of whether to halt the practice has become sensitive, with some settlers viewing such a reaction as yielding to terrorism.
Aviner said people should only hitchhike if they know the driver or are 100 percent certain that it is safe.
Speaking to Army Radio, Rabbi Druckman called for people not to hitchhike, because of the danger of kidnapping.
“We must avoid hitchhiking,” he said on Sunday afternoon. “We live in a certain reality, it didn’t begin today, but we need to overcome it and do everything not to enter into danger as much as we can.”
The rabbi insisted he was not in any way blaming the three kidnapped boys for their abduction, but said that “in the reality we live in, and the difficulties we have, we need to be careful.”
In addition to the prayer rally scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Western Wall, national-religious rabbinical associations Tzohar and Beit Hillel issued a joint statement on Sunday calling on religious and secular people alike to attend a prayer rally in Givat Shmuel, near Tel Aviv.
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau is expected to attend the rally, as well as Tzohar chairman Rabbi David Stav, Beit Hillel chairman Rabbi Meir Nehorai, along with other rabbinical leaders.
Tzohar also issued a map detailing the times and places of prayer rallies around the country scheduled for Sunday night and Monday.
On Saturday night, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu from the conservative wing of the national-religious movement and Safed’s chief rabbi, described the kidnappings as an attempt to hurt the Jewish people as a whole, and said that the Palestinians wanted to wipe out the Jewish people.
“This is why we all feel as one....Everyone is here as one person with one heart.
“They want to throw all of us into the sea, as they say explicitly from time to time,” Eliyahu told the media on Saturday night after a prayer rally in Jerusalem at the Western Wall.
Writing on his Facebook page on Saturday night, Deputy Religious Services Minister Eli Ben-Dahan called for the “harshest possible measures” to be taken against the Palestinian Authority in response to Thursday night’s kidnapping.
He also called on the public to pray for the three boys.