40 kill your fellow man. He cites the revenge motive as a founding event in Jewish history, citing the Book of Numbers, verse 3, chapter 3: “And Moses spoke to the people, saying, Arm some of you, and set yourselves in array before the Lord against Madian, to inflict vengeance on Madian from the Lord.” He also employs the biblical phrase that it is good to kill a thief to justify Goldstein’s killing of the Palestinians. Ginzburg is among the more extreme rabbis who repeatedly tell their followers that fulfillment of God’s prophecy to resettle the Land of Israel is supreme to all other commandments. Another rabbi who contributed to Ginzburg’s book is Ido Elba. In an article entitled "Examination of the Rules Concerning the Murder of Non-Jews," he concluded that the murder of non-Jews can be permitted despite the prohibition against killing in the Ten Commandments. Citing examples from the Book of Joshua, he said the exception is that a Jew can kill a gentile who may eventually kill Jews. Elba ended up serving a brief jail term after the state found him guilty of incitement for publishing the article. Rabbi Yoel Ben-Nun calls Baruch the Hero “a dangerous book, and a satanic book. Like too many rays of uranium, it could very negatively influence the youth.” Yehuda Shaul, a religiously observant political activist who served as a soldier in Hebron, now speaks out against what he saw there. He said he is deeply troubled by the use of religious language in support of violence: “It’s prostituting religion for the sake of nationalism.” He said that, during his time serving in Hebron with his army unit, the soldiers would ask the settlers about violence and why they insisted on breaking the law repeatedly. They told him that there was no law, only Jewish interests to consider. “When the Land of Israel becomes everything, racism and national chauvinism also become everything and from there the distance to violent actions is short.” Rabbis are not the only ones who employ the language of religion as justification for violence or even a suggested political policy. Lawmaker Benny Elon of the far-right Moledet party said that his idea for a peace plan is based on the idea of mass expulsion of the Palestinians. Elon justified it with a quote from the Book of Numbers (33: 51-52) citing God's words to the Israelites: "When you cross the Jordan to the land of Canaan, you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you." Sociologist Gidon Aran said that the Jewish tradition itself is one of internal contradictions and tensions, with everything to either justify violence or peace. “When it comes to religious texts, there is an endless reservoir. You can selectively retrieve everything,” he said.
PROSECUTION: MISTAKES MADE, LESSONS LEARNED Prosecution of crimes committed by far-right religious Jewish extremists has been infrequent and ineffective. There is a feeling of frustration on the part of security officials and human rights activists that the rule of law is continually flaunted. Officials said in interviews that the government, justice ministry, police, and attorney general have not responded as they should. By contrast, Israeli authorities have been very effective at tracking and foiling attacks by Palestinian Muslim fundamentalists. Some suggest the police and Shin Bet borrow from what they have learned in dealing with Palestinian militants. But because these extremists are Israeli citizens, the authorities have less legal leeway with them than with Palestinians, who are not privy to the same rights. Despite what are termed the “wake-up” calls of the Hebron massacre and Rabin’s assassination in the 1990s, Jewish extremists are still not seen as a major threat, especially when compared with the ongoing threat of suicide bombings and other attacks by Palestinian militants. “Jews who are religious fanatics and are aggressive and violent are not considered by the majority as endangering lives,” said Amnon Rubenstein, a leading Israeli legal expert and former education minister. Furthermore, when it comes to addressing the Jewish extremists there are not just the practical issues of arrests, investigations, and prosecutions—there is also the crucial issue of political will. Even though Jewish extremists are by no means supported by the Israeli establishment, there are rightwing members of the Knesset and the politically influential settlers’ council who speak out regularly and impose political pressure when security officials crack down with administrative detention orders. In rare cases they even ban certain individuals from entering the West Bank. Following the arrest this April of a rabbi on suspicion of incitement, the Yesha Council, which represents the mainstream of the settler movement, said in a statement, that the arrest was “religious persecution, which reminds us of dark ages in which rabbis were persecuted for edicts that failed to please Israel's enemies.”16 Most of the extremist camp resides in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, a region referred to often in Israeli circles as “The Wild West,” a reference to its reputation for lawlessness among the settler population. Soldiers and police are often criticized for turning a blind eye to settler violence and vigilantism against Palestinians. Effective prosecution requires solid investigation but the police force in the West
March 12, 2007 statement from the Yesha Rabbinical Council, as reported by Yediot Ahronot (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3375381,00.html).
Published on Jul 23, 2010