The State Attorney's Office ordered police to open a criminal investigation of Rabbi David Batzri and his son, Rabbi Yitzhak Batzri, on Tuesday on suspicion of committing incitement to racism during speeches they made protesting the establishment of a mixed Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem's Patt neighborhood.
The order was issued by attorney Shai Nitzan, head of the Special Tasks Division in the State Attorney's Office, in response to a complaint filed by the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) on January 19.
The complaint was based on a news report about a rally against the school at the neighborhood's community center on January 9, which appeared on the Jerusalem Internet news site 02net.
The report quoted from speeches by several rabbis including Batzri, a well-known kabbalist, and his son.
"The establishment of such a school is an act of abomination and impurity," the report quoted David Batzri as saying. "You cannot mix pure with impure. Of course we have to keep apart from all the other nations. You must stand in the breach and prevent this. One cannot mix light with darkness. The people of Israel are pure.
"The Arabs are a nation of donkeys. They are an evil plague, an evil Satan, an evil pestilence. One may ask, 'why did God not create them to walk on all fours?' for they are donkeys. The answer is that they have to build and clean, but they have to understand that they are donkeys. There is no place for them in our schools."
His son, Yitzhak, was quoted as saying, "The Arabs are donkeys and beasts. They are inferior. What do they want? To take our women. They say we are racists. The truth is that they are the evil ones, the cruel ones. They are bestowed with the filth of the snake. There is purity and there is impurity, and they are the impure."
IRAC welcomed Nitzan's decision to launch an investigation. "In these days, when we are witness to a sharp escalation in the frequency of incidents of racist incitement, there is need for clear and unequivocal action on the part of the law enforcement authorities that will put an end to the improper use that rabbis and others make of the Jewish religion to advance unacceptable, discriminatory and racist views," said attorney Reut Michaeli of IRAC.