Activists tell A-G: Prosecute Shas man for incitement

Rabbi Shalom Cohen under fire for comments allegedly demonizing national-religious stream, Bayit Yehudi.

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July 31, 2013 01:16
1 minute read.
Rabbi Shalom Cohen.

Rabbi Shalom Cohen 370. (photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)

 
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Secular activists affiliated with the predominantly national-religious Bayit Yehudi Party called on Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein on Tuesday to prosecute senior Shas Party official Rabbi Shalom Cohen for incitement and defamation.

Cohen, a member of Shas’s Council of Torah Sages, recently came under criticism after comparing wearers of knit skullcaps – which denote affiliation with the national-religious stream – to the biblical people of Amalek. According to Jewish tradition, Amalek is the the personification of evil, and biblical law mandates the eradication of all Amalekites.

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Cohen later clarified his comments, saying that his words “were intended against the leaders of the Bayit Yehudi Party, along with their supporters, who are waging a war against the Torah and yeshivot.”

He doubled down on those remarks last week, telling students at the Porat Yosef Yeshiva in Jerusalem that if they voted for Bayit Yehudi, “you have destroyed the world.”

“They think they will go to heaven, but they will actually go to hell. They will go to hell for causing people to sin,” Cohen said in a recording of a lecture obtained by haredi website Kikar Hashabbat.

Given recent physical attacks against soldiers by haredi extremists, Cohen’s remarks could serve to exacerbate tensions and lead to further violence, the activists warned.

In a statement to the press, Inbal Leiber of Bayit Yehudi’s Secular Affairs Division cited the Shas rabbi’s statements as a reason for Weinstein to “exercise your authority to order the police to open an investigation against Rabbi Cohen and examine the possibility of prosecution.”

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