Rabbi Bentzi Gopstein.
(photo credit: ARIK SULTAN)
At the annual conference hosted by the NGO Im Tirtzu last week at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem, Matan Peleg, the CEO of the organization addressed the claims of Rabbi Bentzi Gopstein who stated that burning down churches is justifiable behavior due to the commandment to eradicate idolatry from the land of Israel.
Peleg said that "only a right-wing extremist anti-Zionist such as Gopstein would say it is acceptable to burn churches. It is anti-Zionist to burn churches!"
"Zionist philosophy never spoke of a state built purely of Jews," said Peleg. " Zionist philosophy speaks of taking part in an inclusive state, of integrating those who want to take part and tie their fate to the State of Israel and the Jewish people and we see them as partners and brothers in every way," he added.
"In the State of Israel, Beduin trackers get up in the morning with the sun and patrol the border. That is Herzliyan Zionism- that is the Zionism of Im Tirtzu- that is true Zionism," he emphasized.
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At the conference, Im Tirtzu gave their annual award to Muhammed Ka'abiyah and his students from the organization "Follow Me!," an organization focused on integrating youth from developing towns and projects into Israeli society by preparing them for enlistment to the IDF, for their contribution to Israeli society.
Upon accepting his award, Muhammed said, "The Beduin youth still needs something, especially in these times when hate is trying to divide us all regardless of race and identity- they need the hug of the Israeli society, like we just experienced on this stage- because we are not just on the battlefield to fight shoulder to shoulder against a common enemy- we can continue to be together even when we take off the uniform and return to our daily lives."
The conference was attended by dozens of activists and students from various Im Tirtzu groups across the country.