A tenured right-wing university professor will be investigated by police on incitement charges after publicly wishing death to a high-ranking IDF officer. Hillel Weiss, a professor of Hebrew literature at Bar Ilan University, verbally attacked Hebron Brigade commander Col. Yehuda Fuchs in a videotaped interview on Wednesday during the evacuation of Weiss's daughter, son-in-law and six grandchildren from the Hebron wholesale market along with another settler family. Weiss, who was seen by reporters talking to Fuchs privately during the evacuation, was asked by a Ynet reporter what he had told the IDF commander. "I said I hope his mother is bereaved, his wife is widowed and his children are made orphans," said Weiss before the news camera. "And I told him that I hope my grandchildren will take revenge against him and against all Jewish scum like him."
Soldiers' families back Hebron refusal
In addition to the investigation launched by the Judea and Samaria District Police, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi have asked Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz to consider legal action.
Weiss told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that "on a personal level," he regretted what he had said to Fuchs. "I have no problem apologizing to the colonel," said Weiss. "I don't want an Arab to die, let alone a Jew. But on a national level, those orders [to evacuate Jews] are anti-Semitic. And they endanger our very existence here at a time when Syria, Iran and Hamas are preparing to destroy us."
Fuchs's wife and parents, who are American immigrants, declined to comment.
MK Ya'acov Margi (Shas) requested that Bar Ilan University suspend Weiss from his post immediately.
"True, we are a democratic nation," said Margi. "But as an educator, Weiss is a role model. What kind of example is he setting when he curses an IDF commander who tomorrow or the next day might have to risk his own life to protect Weiss?"
Margi said that he personally opposed the forced evacuation of the families from Hebron, "but that does not justify the way Weiss cursed."
Bar Ilan University President Moshe Kaveh said Thursday his university was investigating whether disciplinary action against Weiss could be initiated within the university in parallel with the police investigation.
"Weiss's comments were hair-raising and deserve to be excoriated," said Kaveh. "The Israeli government and society must protect IDF personnel and public servants from such verbal attacks.
Weiss's comments are diametrically opposed to Bar Ilan University's values, which support human dignity, abiding the law and protecting the honor of public servants."
Kaveh said hundreds of students and staff at Bar Ilan had complained and attacked Weiss for his comments.
Weiss is involved in a move to reestablish the Sanhedrin, the ancient supreme government body of 71 elders that ruled on moral and legal matters for the Jewish people during and immediately following the Second Temple Era.
In the past, he has been involved in verbal attacks on high-ranking IDF officers, including former OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh. Weiss and other Sanhedrin rabbis signed a halachic decision in January that argued Naveh was a traitor because he had issued administrative detention orders against right-wing activists in the West Bank, and that it was therefore permissible in principle to kill him.
Weiss, together with other Sanhedrin rabbis, also issued a herem (excommunication) against an officer from Michmash, a settlement in the Binyamin region, who took part in evacuating Jews during disengagement.
Rebecca Anna Stoil contributed to this report.