West Bank rabbi, activist arrested

Yitzhar yeshiva teacher suspected of incitement, seditious activity.

yitzhar overlook 88 (photo credit: )
yitzhar overlook 88
(photo credit: )
Rabbi Yossi Peli, who teaches at the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in the settlement of Yitzhar, was arrested and interrogated by police Tuesday about an article in which he called for either killing or expelling all male Palestinians in Judea and Samaria above the age of 13. Peli was released on bail after being charged with sedition and incitement to violence.
  • Millions spent on 'virtual fences' Peli said that about 10 police cars arrived at his house early in the morning, and that police arrested him for questioning regarding an article he wrote four years ago. Police said that Peli had repeatedly ignored summonses to an investigation. Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, another teacher at the yeshiva who was detained for questioning five months ago regarding the same article, said that that the government was trying to stamp out criticism. "Anyone who dares to express his ideas on how to solve our problem with the Arabs is threatened by the police and the General Security Services," said Shapira. "The government wants to forcibly reeducate us." Peli sent The Jerusalem Post the article, which appeared in the 2002 edition of the now defunct Lehava, a little-known Torah journal. In it, Peli advocates the forced expulsion of all Arab men above the age of 13 living in conquered territory. Citing from the Mishne Torah, written by Maimonides, the 12th century codifier of Jewish law, Peli learns that "in time of war we are commanded to allow our enemies to abandon the battlefield. However, all men who remain must be killed (thus destroying all traces of a nation)." Peli goes on to apply his interpretation of Maimonides to the Palestinians. He ends his article with a prayer: "Let us hope that a truly Jewish leadership will speedily stand up for the Jewish people. A leadership that knows how to fight the Israeli nation's enemies properly and that adopts a strategy based on eternal Torah morality." Both Shapira and Peli are students of Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzberg, a Chabad Hassid whose original thought dominates Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva. Ginzberg, who has published books on diverse subjects from marital relations to child rearing to kabbala, has written in the past year of the moral corruption of the modern Zionist state. He uses the metaphor of a nut to describe the current moral and spiritual predicament of the modern state of Israel. Secular Zionist ideology and the media are the outermost of three shells which are all refuse that must be discarded. The second layer is the Supreme Court and the third layer is the government. These three layers also represent the three biblical prohibitions for which a Jew must give his life rather than transgress them. Unquestioning adherence to Zionism is likened to idolatry. The Supreme Court, which refuses to distinguish between Jews and Gentiles, but rather treats both equally, represents adulterous or otherwise illicit sexual relations, in which familiar distinctions are ignored. The government, which sends soldiers to die unnecessarily because they are forced to adhere to a distorted morality that values the lives of our enemies more than our own, is likened to murder.