Revered Rabbi Preaches Slaughter of Gentile Babies

Settlers Step up "Price-tag" Policy

A rabbi from one of the most violent settlements in the West Bank was questioned on suspicion of incitement last week as Israeli police stepped up their investigation into a book in which he sanctions the killing of non-Jews, including children and babies.  

Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira is one of the leading ideologues of the extreme wing of the religious settler movement. He is known to be a champion of the “price-tag” policy of reprisal attacks on Palestinians, including punishing them for attempts by officials to enforce Israeli law against the settlements.  

So far the policy has chiefly involved violent harassment of Palestinians, with settlers inflicting beatings, attacking homes, throwing stones, burning fields, killing livestock and poisoning wells.  

It is feared, however, that Shapira’s book The King’s Torah, published last year, is intended to offer ideological justifications for widening the scope of such attacks to include killing Palestinians, even children.  

Although Shapira was released a few hours after his questioning last Monday, dozens of rabbis, as well as several members of parliament, rallied to his side, condemning the arrest.

Shlomo Aviner, one of the settlement movement’s spiritual leaders, defended the book’s arguments as a “legitimate stance” and one that should be taught in Jewish seminaries.

But in a sign of mounting official unease at Shapira’s influence on the settlement movement, the Israeli military authorities also threatened last week to enforce a decade-old demolition order on Yitzhar’s seminary, which was built without a permit.  

Dror Etkes, a Tel Aviv-based expert on the settlements, said the order was unlikely to be carried out but was a way to pressure Yitzhar’s 500 inhabitants to rein in their more violent attacks.  

He said the authorities had begun taking a harder line against Yitzhar only since Shapira and several of his students were suspected of torching a mosque in the neighbouring village of Yasuf last December.  

“Shapira is trying to redefine the conflict with the Palestinians, turning it from a national conflict into a religious one. That frightens Israel. It doesn’t want to look as though it is fighting the whole Islamic world,” Etkes said.  

He added that the rabbi and his supporters were closely associated with Kach, a movement founded by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane that demands the expulsion of all Palestinians from a “Greater Israel”. Despite Kach being banned, officials have largely turned a blind eye as its ideology has flourished in the settlements.  

“It may be illegal to call oneself Kach but the authorities are more than tolerant of settlers who hold such views and carry out violent attacks. In fact, what Kahane was doing in the 1980s seems like child’s play compared with today’s settlers.”  

In the 230-page book, Shapira and his co-author, Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, also from Yitzhar, argue that Jewish law permits the killing of non-Jews in a wide variety of circumstances. The terms “gentiles” and “non-Jews” in the book are widely understood as references to Palestinians.  

They write that Jews have the right to kill Gentiles in any situation in which “a non-Jew’s presence endangers Jewish lives” even if the Gentile is “not at all guilty for the situation that has been created”.  

The book sanctions the killing of non-Jewish children and babies: “There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation they may be harmed deliberately, and not only during combat with adults.”  

The rabbis suggest that harming the children of non-Jewish leaders is justified if it is likely to bring pressure to bear on them to change policy.  

The authors also advocate committing “cruel deeds to create the proper balance of terror” and treating all members of an “enemy nation” as targets for retaliation, even if they are not directly participating in hostile activities.  

The rabbis appear to be offering justifications in Jewish law for collective punishment and other war crimes of the kind committed by the Israeli army in its attack on Gaza in the winter of 2008.  

Pamphlets similarly calling on soldiers to “show no mercy” were distributed by the army’s rabbinate as troops prepared for the Gaza operation, in which 1,400 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, were killed. Religious settlers have come to dominate many combat units.  

An investigation last year by Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group, found Shapira’s seminary had received government funds worth at least $300,000 in recent years. American and British groups have also contributed tens of thousands of dollars in tax-deductible donations.  

According to the Jerusalem Post newspaper, the Yitzhar settlers have responded to the demolition order against their seminary by threatening to publish documents showing that the housing and transport ministries were closely involved in the project too.  

The settlers have repeatedly rampaged through nearby Palestinian villages, most notoriously in September 2008, when they were filmed shooting at homes in Assira al-Kabaliya, smashing properties and daubing Stars of David on homes. Ehud Olmert, the prime minister of the time, termed the settlers’ actions a “pogrom”.  

The same year a religious student from Yitzhar was arrested for firing home-made rockets at Palestinian villages close by.  

In April, Yitzhar’s settlers marched through the village of Huwara and pelted a Palestinian family’s home with stones in “reprisal” for the arrest of 11 of their number.  

A settler from Yitzhar was questioned last month over the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old Palestinian, Aysar Zaban, in May, reportedly after stones were thrown at the settler’s car. The teenager was shot in the back.  

Last week, the settlers attacked Burin, shooting at villagers and burning fields.  

In most of these cases, the settlers who were arrested were released a short time later either by the police or the courts. In January, a Jerusalem judge freed Rabbi Shapira for lack of evidence in the arson attack on the mosque.  

Yitzhak Ginsburg, an authority on Jewish law and a mentor to Shapira, was questioned by police last Thursday over his endorsement of the book. In the past Ginsburg has praised Baruch Goldstein, a settler who opened fire in Hebron’s Ibrahimi mosque in 1994, killing 29 Palestinian worshippers.  

In 2003 Ginsburg was accused of incitement for publishing a book that called for the expulsion of Palestinians from Israel and the occupied territories, but the charges were dropped after he issued a “clarification statement”.  

A group calling itself “Students of Yitzhak Ginsburg” recently distributed a leaflet urging Israeli soldiers to “spare your lives and the lives of your friends and show no concern for a population that surrounds us and harms us”.  

What is Kach? 

Kach was founded in 1971 by the late Meir Kahane, an American rabbi who immigrated to Israel. He won a seat in the Israeli parliament in 1984 on a platform of expelling all Palestinians from Israel and the occupied territories. As an MP, he drafted legislation to revoke the Israeli citizenship of non-Jews and ban sexual relations between Jews and Gentiles.  

The political party was banned from running for the Israeli parliament in 1988 and the movement was outlawed six years later. Although the group is considered a terrorist organisation in the United States and most of Europe, its ideology has been allowed to thrive in the settlements.  

Today, dozens of rabbis espouse an interpretation of Jewish religious law identical to or worse than Kahane’s.  

Michael Ben Ari, a former Kach leader, was elected as an MP last year for the far-right National Union party, which holds four seats in the 120-member parliament.  

Avigdor Lieberman, who leads the parliament’s third largest party and is foreign minister, briefly joined the party before it was banned. His own party’s anti-Arab “No loyalty, no citizenship” programme includes echoes of Kahane’s ideology.

Jonathan Cook, based in Nazareth, Israel is a winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). Read other articles by Jonathan, or visit Jonathan's website.

19 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Rehmat said on August 2nd, 2010 at 2:48pm #

    Jew settlers are raised on the teachings of their Holy Talmud which not only teaches hatred towards Christians but the rest on non-Jewish population of the world. In fact the Zionist Jews have expanded their hatred horizon – they even hate non-White Jews and the Jews who refuse to follow their views.

    Zionist author, Arthur Ruppin in his study The Jews Today: “The Zionist movement has already stirred the Jewish conscienceness of many a western Jews with the obvious omission of Sephardic Jews. The Zionist settlement efforts aimed till 1948 at recruiting European Jews only, despite the fact that it would have been a far easier task to settle Oriental Jews…” Ruppin also admit that “the Jewish rights” only applies only to the Ashkenazi (European) Jews; as far the Sephardim, they were to be admitted into the enclave out of dire economic necessity and pragmatic considerations.” This Zionist racism of fellow Jews still exists in Israel – in almost every field. For example, one out of nine Israeli presidents, only Yitzhak Navon (1978-83) had Shephardic background – while Moshe Katsav (2000-2007) was the only Eastern Jew from Iran to be appointed to that post – the remaining all seven belonged to European Zionist horde.

  2. JoeJ said on August 2nd, 2010 at 10:14pm #

    Not all religions think the same way.

  3. mary said on August 3rd, 2010 at 1:32am #

    Not enough Jewishness in the blood of this crestfallen lady. Note the whining.

    “Zionism runs in my family,” the Detroit native says, adding that her grandfather’s uncle was Zionist leader Nahum Sokolow….

    “It’s as if one day you wake up and you’re no longer a Jew in the Jewish State but outside Israel you are still Jewish enough to be hated by most of the world,” Rubin says. “It’s a weird feeling. It’s hard enough to grasp the idea that your Judaism may not be valid but then to be told you’re not actually Jewish according to the Jewish state – it’s ostracizing.”

    Sokolow’s niece ‘not Jewish enough’ to marry here

    After being told she needed to prove the Jewishness of her maternal lineage for four generations, Hillary Rubin is questioning her decision to move to Israel.
    By Raphael Ahren

  4. yoni said on August 3rd, 2010 at 4:45am #

    The monopoly of Orthodox Judaism over marriage in Israel is outrageous in my opinion and I wish that Israel will have civil marriage soon. Those who don’t know, should know that in Israel only religious marriage are possible – but that’s not a Jewish thing, but a religious thing also for Muslims and Christians – and among the Muslim/Palestinian community in Israel, there is a strong consensus that this is how it should stay and they completely reject the notion of secular marriage. Yes, let me give some of you another dissonance – the Sharia law is an integral part of the Israeli law in many aspects of public and private life (Israel has Sharia courts, the thing that Europeans are united even against the thought of having these days).

    But anyway – all those issues are internal Israeli issues. How the hell it’s any of your business?

  5. yoni said on August 3rd, 2010 at 4:53am #

    @ Rehmat:
    What do you mean “while Moshe Katsav (2000-2007) was the only Eastern Jew from Iran to be appointed to that post”? How many Eastern Jews from Iran do you want to be appointed to this position, so far occupied by only 9 people? The prior IDF chief of staff is Iranian.

    Indeed European Jews carried most high positions in the country’s first 2 decades. It’s partially natural as they were those who established Zionist institutes and later the country, while oriental Jews arrived mostly later (after being expelled from Arab countries – remember?). The other part is racism of many among the European Jews who led the country back then. Israel is not different here than other places – when you put together people from more than 100 different countries, there will be a lot of racism and prejudice. Comparatively. Israel managed pretty well under these conditions.

    Besides, I like it when you put links to your blog after making absurd arguments, as if your blog is a reliable source for anything…

  6. mary said on August 3rd, 2010 at 4:54am #

    Touched a raw nerve there, have we Yoni?

  7. yoni said on August 3rd, 2010 at 5:13am #

    @mary: yes, wild antisemitism, hate and demonization touches many raw nerves. It is eventually sad and frustrating, otherwise I wouldn’t bother to write here.

    Here, maybe you’ll learn something – a Palestinian-Jordanian is complaining today about the demonization and hate-spreading against Israel, while the Palestinians who really suffer are ignored:

  8. mary said on August 3rd, 2010 at 6:43am #

    I quite like some of the comments there excluding those from the Krazies of course.

    23. Call a spade a spade
    Author: Rob Misek
    08/01/2010 19:27

    What fool believes that a solution can be found without recognizing the cause? The cause of the Middle east conflict is the theft of Palestine. Ben Gurion the first prime minister of Israel admitted it in 1956. “Why should the Arabs make peace? If I was an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country …we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that? They may perhaps forget in one or two generations’ time, but for the moment there is no chance.”


    15. Spin…Results of Ethnic Cleansing can be blamed o
    Author: Steve Benassi
    Country: USA
    08/01/2010 15:04

    Spin is a form of propaganda. Mudar Zahran wants the public to believe that Israel is blameless for the harm that has befallen the Palestinian refugees thru wars, confiscation of their land, bulldozing their villages, and causing them to run for their lives. He thinks killing 1400 Gazans was not a big deal, and that the media focuses on Israel too much


    . No Silence On Apartheid Israel’s Crimes
    Author: marge, USA
    08/01/2010 09:57

    The only crimes covered up are those of Apartheid Israel by the US, EU, and UN. Apartheid Israel is the only country in the world that is kept in existence with US taxpayer dollars, weapons, and veto protection. This makes us americans a party to Apartheid Israel’s atrocities and crimes against humanity on the Palestinians. We resent it and will continue to expose it along with US complicity as much as possible.


    btw Why is there a button on the JP banner saying ‘Iranian Threat’?

    As we speak, Israel is attacking Lebanon. Three Lebanese people killed. Israeli troops invaded. What is new?

  9. yoni said on August 3rd, 2010 at 8:02am #


    Thank you for recognizing Israel’s strong democratic practices buy reviewing anti-Israeli comments on a “Zionist” news website.
    That quote of Ben-Gurion was always taken out of context – it is originally came as an answer to a question whether he can see things from the point of view of the Arabs. He indeed could – he was a great leader.

    What happened today is that the Lebanon Army (probably for the first time in 30 years or so) attacked Israel, killing at least one Israeli commander, maybe two (we will hear it later in the news, as in Israel death of soldiers is reported to the media after the families got the news first). Israel practiced its international-law right to respond. Anyway hopefully this will not develop into a full-scale war everyone here seems to wait for, by pushing the children of Palestine to die on behalf of their “anti-Zionist” paranoia, and then unleashing hate and incitement when they actually die.

  10. Rehmat said on August 3rd, 2010 at 8:34am #

    hi yoni – first of all – I have more chances of being a Semite than the entire 12.7 million world Jewish population – who are either Khazarian Turks or North African Berbers.

    Second, some of the Iranian Jews have proved to be far better Shylocks than in the ‘Merchant of Venice’. Take for example, Victor Tchenguiz (pronounced like Genghis, as in Khan), whose bank ‘Kaupthing’ the Icelanders of US$20 billion (although less than American Jew Madoff) – used to Shah Iran’s jeweller and head of Iranian mint. He fled to the zionist entity with tens of millions of Iranian money after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

    As Professor Lawrence Davidson recently wrote: “Israel is a land built on myths”.

  11. teafoe2 said on August 3rd, 2010 at 8:50am #

    Mary, thanks for your defense of the truth. However, after we regular DV readers/posters have successfully endured and eventually discouraged the long list of zionist crackpots, starting in my own memory with “Neal”, followed by “Jaime”, “jon s” etc, when another flake like this Yoni pops up, to me it’s just more deja vu all over again.

    The arguments this creep advances have all been refuted root and branch by more intelligent voices among his fellow zionists such as Prof Chomsky and Rabbi Lerner. So I suggest that instead of wasting time on these retards, we just refer them to Chomsky’s or Lerner’s writings, or to sites where more intelligent & informed, more up-to-date versions of hasbara can be found. Let them deal with Mr Hammond’s views and compilations of the facts before coming on here trying to waste serious people’s time.

    That’s just my personal take on it, do what seems best to you.

    And thank you again for all the good work you do, which adds a lot to the DV experience:)

  12. yoni said on August 3rd, 2010 at 9:00am #

    Hey Rahmat,

    As I wrote here before, I couldn’t care less about the racial origin of people. If you’re Semite (and let’s ignore that there is no Semitic race but the term originally referred to a family of languages), Barber, Aborigine or a cucumber – I don’t give a damn and it’s 100% irrelevant for any political discussion. I also apply the same standards on myself – Just if you’re curious, both of my parents were born in Israel, my mother’s parents were deported from Kurdistan, North Iraq, in 1949, and my Father’s parents are from Romania (mother) and Poland (father) originally, both are Auschwitz survivors who came to Israel in 1946 (first had to stay in another camp in Cyprus since Arabs didn’t like Jews near them and the British didn’t care about helping holocaust survivors, after the war as during the war). I couldn’t care less if any of my grandparents are Khazars or Barber.

    About Iranian Jews, like the rest of the Iranian people – they are wonderful people with amazing and rich culture. If there’s a country I wish to visit one day is Iran, hopefully a free one.

    Israel does have some myths (like all imagined communities/nations), but it is surely a land and it is well built.

  13. yoni said on August 3rd, 2010 at 9:03am #

    You haven’t refuted even one argument I presented here so far, all you seem to be able to do is through some offenses here and there. What are you so bragging about?

  14. teafoe2 said on August 3rd, 2010 at 10:06am #

    hohum. at least I can write coherent grammatical standard English, and spell “throw”:) hohum, out.

  15. yoni said on August 3rd, 2010 at 10:14am #

    @ teafoe2
    yes that’s probably true, your English is better than mine.

  16. mary said on August 4th, 2010 at 3:40pm #

    It is being said constantly by Yoni that those of us who are opposed to Zionism and the effect its proponents have on the Palestinian people are ‘hate filled’. That is not true at all.

    True hate has been engendered in these youths who participated in the eviction and harrassment of these indigenous Bedouin people.

    SYNOPSIS – Lawrence Davidson considers the role played by Israeli youths in the construction of fascism in Israel, most recently during an operation to ethnically cleanse non-Jewish citizens of Israel from a village in the Negev, where teenage students had been bussed in to hound the villagers out of their homes and act as cheerleaders during the ethnic cleansing.

  17. JoeJ said on August 4th, 2010 at 4:09pm #

    yoni — “I couldn’t care less if any of my grandparents are Khazars or Barber.

    We care about what your grandparents did — they made a 60 year war zone out of the Middle East.

    They must be condemned – Zionism must be condemned – Israel must be condemned – world Jewry must be condemned!

    What else can we say?

  18. Jonas Rand said on August 4th, 2010 at 6:40pm #

    What this rabbi is saying is morally evil and despicable, and is broadly demonstrative of the general harmfulness/intolerance of religious fundamentalism or subscribing to certain ‘beliefs’ without questioning them. It is hatred, pure and simple. This does not mean that such contemptible odiousness is indicative of all Jews (and nor is the idea of Zionism). Nowhere in the Bible does it advise Jews to be racist and hateful. We are all human beings and should be more accepting of one another rather than fomenting hatred. Resistance to oppression is fundamental, though, and I don’t mean to say that people should be passive while being subjugated. Why should world Jewry be condemned?

    It seems to me that Zionists, and especially the IDF, are completely going against the principle of tikkun when forcing Palestinians to live under bestial and barbaric conditions.

  19. mary said on August 5th, 2010 at 12:43am #

    Palestinian Boy, Five, Begs Soldiers Not To Take His Dad
    Tuesday, August 3

    TV cameras have captured the distressing moment a five-year-old Palestinian boy sees his father arrested for stealing water.

    Khaled Jabari wails in torment and confusion as Israeli soldiers drag away his father Fadel in the West Bank district of Hebron.

    Walking barefoot, the youngster becomes hysterical as he pleads with the troops not to take his father away.

    One of the soldiers picks up the lad and removes him from the scene before Fadel is driven away in a four-wheel-drive.

    After watching the footage, Hashem Abu Maria, of the Defence For Children International charity, said it was obvious the child thought his father would never return.