Prominent settlement movement rabbi linked to torching of West Bank mosque

Reading some of the sanctimonious condemnations of Friday’s
torching of a mosque in the West Bank village of Yasuf, one could
easily be led to believe that the “price tag” terror tactic was
invented last week. A close observer of current events in the West
bank would also note that no mention is made of the spiritual
leadership publicly sanctioning and encouraging these attacks.

Take Rabbi Yosef Elitzur of the Od Yosef Hai Yeshiva in Yitzhar,
for example. In early November he published the “Handbook
for the Killing of Gentiles
.” Just last week, ahead of a
revival meeting with the notorious Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburg, he
an article
with specific instructions on this type of action in
response to the “settlement freeze.”

This morning’s (December 13 2009) Yediot made the connection. In
a news item entitled “The people who want to set things ablaze,”
Zvi Singer et al report that:

“A number of the settler rabbis voiced their support for that
mode of action and, by so doing, increased awareness about the issue
and created a type of internal buzz among the activists. For example,
Rabbi Yosef Elitzur of the Od Yosef Hai yeshiva in Yitzhar published
an article in the extremist
right wing newsletter called
Jewish Voice]
in which he explicitly called for operations like
the arson at the Yasouf mosque. “Operations of reciprocal
responsibility,” is how Rabbi Elitzur chose to define them. “We
too have strength and we too shall use it at a time and place of our
choosing,” he wrote. “If the Jews don’t have quiet-the Arabs
won’t have quiet either; If the Arabs win because of violence
against Jews-the Jews too will win because of violence against

This Friday’s (December 11 2009)
edition of the Jewish Voice, entitled “Fighting the Freeze,”
reiterates the importance of such attacks (full Hebrew document

“Another important “tip” in this
context: Whoever wants to win does not limit himself to protest, nor
does he let the other side determine the boundaries of the battle. We
need to choose for ourselves the sector of the struggle. Why, for
example, wait in the settlements for the violent-frost-forces [sic],
and not send a small delegation of our own to the nearby Arab
village, to check out the freeze situation there? Believe me that all
the [IDF] forces will immediately retreat to the Arab village…”

Yediot fails to mention that the Od
Yosef Hai Yeshiva is the recipient of generous government funding,
perhaps because Haaretz was the one to expose
this fact. According to Israel’s premier expert on NGO funding,
Prof. Gerald
Steinberg of NGO Monitor
, however, this is just a fact of life in
Israel, as normal as funding of youth movements, and does not warrant
any extraordinary action. Responding to a direct question on Od Yosef
Hai, he tells
the Jerusalem Post’s Shmuel Rosner that:

“…the state is used to funnel large
sums of money to various sectors and institutions related to
political parties – from kibbuzim to youth movements and yeshivot -
with numerous stops in between.


Didi Remez

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