Mazuz checking Chabad rabbi's 'traitor Olmert' statements for incitement

A-G may order criminal probe after Rabbi Wolpe tells audience gov't leaders should be hanged for negotiating with Palestinians.

wolpe 224 (photo credit: )
wolpe 224
(photo credit: )
Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz refused to say on Thursday whether he will order a criminal investigation of Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe, of Chabad's messianic stream, for incitement for telling an audience of rabbis in Tel Aviv that government leaders should be hanged for negotiating with the Palestinians. "The matter is being looked into, as is customary [in such cases,]" was his terse reply to a query from The Jerusalem Post. Mazuz is known to be reluctant to order police investigations when it comes to the use of inflammatory words, as opposed to illegal actions. Those who demand that Mazuz crack down on firebrands like Wolpe draw a parallel to the events leading up to the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, when some rabbis applied din rodef (the right to kill someone who oppresses the Jewish people,) to him over the Oslo Accords. In fact, Mazuz angered such people during the disengagement period when he said there was no proof that the statements of the rabbis and other Oslo opponents had led to Rabin's assassination. During the period leading up to 2005's disengagement, Mazuz presented guidelines to the Israel Police, granting it the right to immediately launch a criminal investigation of people who allegedly incite to violence in public, without waiting for the prosecution's approval. According to the guidelines, if someone, before an audience, incites to violence in a clear manner against the prime minister, a cabinet minister or any other elected official, the police can immediately open a criminal probe. The current law sets a relatively high threshold for determining what incitement constitutes. It calls on the state to prove that the call for violence or expressions of praise and support for violence create "a substantial possibility" of bringing about such an act. Meretz leadership candidate Haim Oron has called on Defense Minister Ehud Barak to prevent the Chabad movement from providing religious services on IDF bases until it distances itself from Wolpe. Oron also said Wolpe should be kept away from schools. Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu released a statement criticizing Wolpe and saying that there was no room for violence in a democratic society. Rabbi Menachem Brod, spokesman for the Chabad Youth Organization, said Wolpe did not represent Chabad. "Many times in the past, Chabad has distanced itself from Wolpe's provocations, which are totally alien to the way of Chabad and the style of the Rebbe [Menachem Mendel Schneerson]," he said. "His irresponsible statements cause the utmost damage to the Greater Israel cause because he gives the mistaken impression that those who are opposed to territorial compromise and to the division of Jerusalem are a bunch of crazies," Brod said. Wolpe this week told a conference of rabbis who oppose transferring parts of the West Bank or Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority that Olmert and other senior ministers should be "hanged from the gallows" for giving "these Nazis [Palestinian leaders] weapons," money and freeing "their murderous terrorists." Matthew Wagner contributed to this report.