Rabbis demand 'measure for measure'

Posters seen near Mercaz Harav Yeshiva say Jewish initiative against "Arab enemy" would be "welcome."

mercaz poster 224 88 (photo credit: Channel 1)
mercaz poster 224 88
(photo credit: Channel 1)
A group of right-wing rabbis issued a statement Wednesday calling on Jews to take revenge on their enemies "measure for measure." Kiryat Motzkin Chief Rabbi David Druckman, one of the rabbis who signed the statement, said the notice was not intended as a call to take revenge by attacking Arabs. Rather, it was a call to cut all ties with Arabs. "We have to stop acting like suckers," said Druckman, who is connected with Chabad. "Why should be employ them, buy from them, or solicit their business when they want to destroy us? If Ishmael treats Israel as subhuman, we have to cut off all contact with them." Druckman said that while not all Arabs were Israel's enemies, he was under the impression that many Arabs supported the terror attack at Jerusalem's Mercaz Harav Yeshiva last Thursday. Therefore, it was necessary to boycott Arabs, he said. The rabbis' announcement was printed on large notices and posted near the yeshiva where eight students were murdered by Ala Abu Dhaim, a Hamas terrorist from east Jerusalem's Jebl Mukaber neighborhood. The notices call on Jews "to work to create a proper Jewish leadership" that is informed by the Torah and to launch a "merciless war" in the future under the auspices of an authentic Jewish leadership. The long list of rabbis who signed the notice includes Daniel Stavski, head of the Shorashim Institute; Yitzhak Shapira, a resident of Yitzhar, near Nablus, who is connected to maverick Chabad rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburg; Ya'acov Yosef, estranged son of Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef; and Uzi Sharbaf, son-in-law of Rabbi Moshe Levinger, who was convicted in 1985 together with two others for killing four Arab college students in Hebron and who was later pardoned from serving a life sentence. Also on Wednesday, Mercaz Harav denied a Channel 1 report that students at the yeshiva were planning to murder an Arab official connected with the Temple Mount in retaliation for Thursday's attack. Mercaz Harav's management demanded that Channel 1 issue an apology and suspend Ayala Hasson, the reporter of the story about the alleged murder plot. Yehoshua Mor-Yosef, the yeshiva's spokesman, also said the institution was preparing to file a libel suit against the channel. According to the report, three alumni met at the yeshiva with two rabbis to discuss whether Jewish law would permit such an attack. The television channel reported that one of the rabbis gave his blessing for such an attack, as did an additional rabbi from Bnei Brak. "Torah law is that you should respond," Channel 1 quoted one of the rabbis as saying. The plan was reportedly to harm a senior Arab official affiliated with a mosque at on the Temple Mount, Channel 1 said. Eilon Moreh Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, who has strong ties with radical settler youth, said the message that he and other spiritual leaders were sending out was that revenge was the sole responsibility of the state. "Individuals have no right to take the law into their hands," said Levanon. "We hope that the present government will be replaced with a leadership that will know how to react to seven years of Kassam rockets and Palestinian terrorism. But until that happens no individual has the right to take revenge." National Religious Party chairman Zevulun Orlev called upon Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter to take steps to ensure that whoever was involved in the reports on Channel 1 would be arrested. But he said he doubted that the stories were true and he warned of an attempt to "stain the entire religious Zionist camp." MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) called on law enforcement authorities to take steps to prevent right-wing extremist groups and individuals from taking revenge against Israeli Arabs. "There are dangerous signs of things going haywire," Tibi said. "Extremists groups and individuals are looking for excuses to take revenge against Arabs, not only as a reaction to the attack, but also because of their hatred for Arabs that they had before the shooting." Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.