Rightist rabbis urge 'measure for measure' revenge on foes
By Ha'aretz Service, 15/03/2008
A group of rightist rabbis on Wednesday called on Jews to avenge their enemies 'measure for measure,' a day after news reports circulated of an alleged yeshiva plot to strike a senior Arab official in retaliation for the terror attack at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva last week.
In notices posted along Jerusalem's Kiryat Moshe neighborhood, near the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, the rabbis wrote: "Each and everyone is required to imagine what the enemy is plotting to do to us, and to match it measure for measure.
The rabbis' announcement calls on Jews "to work to create a proper Jewish leadership," and envisions the day when "Jews will congregate in thei cities... and strike those who wish upon them ill," - in reference to a verse from the Book of Esther, which will be read next week on the Purim holiday.
The announcement also urges Jews to "go forward with blessed local actions as well."
The long list of rabbis who signed the notice includes Daniel Staveski, Itzhak Shapira, David Drukman, Yaakov Yossef - son of Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef - and Uzi Sharbaf, who killed several Arab college students in Hebron 20 years ago and was recently pardoned from a life sentence.
The list of rabbis also includes figures who are linked to the ultra-right Kach movement which was banned in 1994.
The statement also says that the massacre at the yeshiva was "the direct result of the lack of a proper government, which should have acted according to the 'Shulkhan Arukh' (a 16th century rabbinical codex) which states that one must not forgive goyim who harm Jews or their property."
"The governing leaders have decided to appease the Arab enemy. Only the real Jewish leadership can send the country to war knowing that it is a righteous battle against the enemies of Israel and God."
"In going to war," the rabbis write, "the Cohen fills the people with motivation by giving him the knowledge that he is going to fight his enemies and he must not show compassion or mercy."
Rabbi Gadi Ben-Zimra, one of the Rabbis who signed the statement, told Haaretz that the message did not refer to private acts of vengeance since avenging the dead is the job of the proper Jewish leadership that must be established.
Regarding the 'blessed local actions', Ben Zimra said that they were referring to the return to Gush Katif and Homesh and not revenge.
"Private vengeance is damaging and I for one am not calling for it," Zamra said. "I don?t think that this message implies that one must go out and get revenge."
MK Orlev: Reports of yeshiva revenge plot 'malicious slander'
Earlier Wednesday, MK Zevulun Orlev demanded that the Public Security Ministry investigate the validity of the television reports claiming that students from the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem, where an Israeli Arab gunman killed eight students last Thursday, were planning a revenge attack against a senior Arab official affiliated with a Jerusalem mosque.
Orlev, of the National Religious Party - National Union, said late Tuesday that any suspects in the alleged affair must be investigated, but suggested that there could be figures out there looking to "blemish religious Zionism" and the stricken yeshiva in its hour of grief.
Channel 1 television reported Tuesday that three yeshiva alumni met at the school 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 the attack, and an additional rabbi from a Tel Aviv suburb also gave his approval for the attack.
The attack has not been carried out and no arrests have been made, Channel 1 quoted security sources as saying.
Following release of the reports, Orlev said he suspected the allegations were an attempt to slander the religious Zionism movement.
"I turned urgently to Public Security Minister Avi Dichter and said that if there are any apparent suspects in revenge plots, they should be detained and investigated," Orlev said.
"And if there are none - then maybe there is someone interested in blemishing religious Zionism and the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in such particularly difficult hours when we are all hurting and all grieving."
The MK demanded that if suspicions of such a plot could not be confirmed, both the movement and the yeshiva deserved an apology.
"If there are suspects, and it is almost certain that there are
none, please apologize to religious Zionism, apologize to the
yeshiva, because that would be malicious slander, evil slander - so
either arrest or apologize."