During Tuesday`s meeting of the Knesset State Control Committee on the law enforcement agencies` handling of inciting rabbis, MK Karin Elharrar (Yesh Atid), who heads the committee, protested against the left-wing incitement against Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (HaBayit HaYehudi) and said ”an atmosphere has been created as though the state`s laws do not apply to the inciters. There is a red line for every opinion, certainly when such incitement produces violent terrorists.”
Elharrar criticized the state`s failure to address the publication of the book Torat Hamelech, which says it is permissible in some situations to kill non-Jews according to Jewish law. ”The Justice Ministry must create deterrence against the inciters by summoning them for questioning and filing indictments,” she said, while charging that the Education and Welfare ministries are ”helpless” in treating teenagers who drop out of school. The chairwoman also called on State authorities to take action against rabbis who hold official state positions and act against the state.
MK Karin Elharrar
According to MK Yaakov Peri (Yesh Atid), the state authorities failed in tackling the incitement problem in the country. ”The General Security Service (Shin Bet), Israel Police and the Justice Ministry could not, or perhaps were afraid, to hold accountable rabbis who supported the Jewish underground in the 80s,” he said, while fellow Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah said ”the kingdom has for years been failing to perform its duty to uphold its honor, laws and recognition of its authority.”
MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) said, ”There is selective enforcement against the leftist camp, despite the fact that this camp is the one that is being persecuted and suffers from verbal violence and incitement.” MK Yael German (Yesh Atid) argued that ”a direct line has been stretched between incitement against homosexuals, Arabs and leftists,” and protested the absence of a law against hate crimes.
Rabbi Gilad Kariv, the executive director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, told the committee that the authorities should not focus on extreme cases, but ”be concerned about the fact that racism and verbal violence are becoming the norm within a broad segment of the population.”
Rabbi Rafi Feuerstein of the Tzohar rabbinical organization told the committee that he prayed together with Sheikh Abdullah Nimar Darwish for the well-being of the Dawabsheh family, whose home in the Palestinian village of Duma was firebombed last July. The arson attack resulted in the loss of life of three of the family members; 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh was burned alive in the fire, while both his parents died from their injuries within weeks. Feuerstein said education, not only legislation, is the way to deal with violence and incitement.
Attorney Amit Marari said on behalf of the Justice Ministry that it is working persistently to curb the incitement and protested against the claim of selective enforcement against the Left. Omri Cohen of the State Attorney`s Office said that most of the cases that are examined do qualify as incitement in the criminal and legal sense of the word.
Moran Zipper of the ”Tag Meir” forum said ”the ideological infrastructure which has grown over the past few years is legitimizing incitement and murder, and the enforcement and legal agencies remain silent.”