An extremist settler rabbi has been indicted on charges of incitement to violence over articles he wrote commending those carrying out hate crimes against Arabs as “first signs of a growing public that take responsibility for the security of the Jews”.
Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, of the Yitzhar settlement in the West Bank, also talked about “taking action against the enemy” and said that revenge crimes against Palestinians should be viewed in a “positive sense”. The two articles were published on the Hakol Hayehudi website in July 2013, after the murder of Evyatar Borovski, an Israeli father of five.
Avichai Mandelblit, Israel’s Attorney General, approved the indictment on Tuesday, after it was filed at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court.
Rabbi Elitzur is the co-author of The King’s Torah, a work which discusses relationships between Jews and non-Jews, and includes highly controversial analysis of situations in which Jews are halachically permitted to kill non-Jews. The work, which was published in 2009, was criticised by mainstream Orthodox authorities.
The Reform Movement and Tag Meir, an anti-racism NGO, filed the petition against Rabbi Elitzur. In a statement, Anat Hoffman, executive director of the Reform movement’s Israel Religious Action Centre, said it was “high time Israel cease to tolerate the intolerable.
“A rabbi like him contaminates our Jewish tradition and pollutes our democracy. Freedom of speech ends when hate and violence are preached and practised.”
Rabbi Elitzur was banned from the UK for three years in 2011 due to his book, with the Home Office instructing him not to travel to the country because he would be refused entry on arrival.