Racist Israeli Rabbis
by Stephen Lendman
Chief rabbis are most important. They have power. They impose customs and rituals. They enforce them. They alone decide who’s a Jew and who’s not.
They determine who’s married, who’s divorced, who may marry, who may not, and who may marry whom.
The decide which children are legitimate and which aren’t. They have enormous influence over Israeli policy.
A civil judge “solemnly promise(s) to be loyal to the State of Israel and its laws.” A rabbinic judge pledges only “to be loyal to the State of Israel.”
Israel has two chief rabbis. Ashkenazi and Sephardi ones. They’re elected to 10-year terms.
Israel’s Chief Rabbinate Council assists them. They alternate as presidents of Israel’s Rabbinical Supreme Court.
It’s the religious equivalent to Israel’s High Court of Justice. They serve five years each. They switch to head the Chief Rabbinate Council.
David Lau is Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi. Yiszhak Yosef is his Sephardi counterpart. They represent Jewish Orthodoxy. Both are overt racists.
Lau calls African American basketball players “kushim.” It’s the Israeli equivalent of “nigger.”
He was caught on tape saying: “Why do you care whether these kushim who are paid in Tel Aviv beat the kushim who are paid in Greece?”
MK Pnina Tamano-Shata has Ethopian roots. She accused Lau of racism, saying:
“It’s unacceptable that a man who sees himself as worthy of serving as Israel’s chief rabbi exhibits such poor choice of words.”
“Sadly, he is the face of the Chief Rabbinate. Next time an Ethiopian-Israeli couple asks him to marry them, he might say, ‘Why do you care whether Jewish kushim marry?’ “
Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef made similar comments. He accused Israeli Treasury officials of financing “kushim in basketball.”
He said doing so comes at the expense of synagogue and (ritual immersion) mikveh funding.
Both chief rabbis are racist in other ways. So are dozens of other influential Israeli religious figures.
They want Arabs excluded from Jewish communities. They want Jews prohibited from selling or renting homes to non-Jews.
They want one-fifth of Israel’s population treated differently from its majority. They want them denied equal rights. They promote incitement to prevent it.
On January 29, Haaretz headlined “Jerusalem to get racist rabbi? Sources say Mayor Nir Barkat endorses Shmuel Eliyahu.”
He’s quoted as saying:
“It is forbidden to sell an apartment to Arabs. It is forbidden to rent an apartment to Arabs.”
“Say ‘racist’ all you want. I’m unimpressed by such words. This, by the way, is prohibited by Jewish law,” he claims. No responsible society would accept racist laws.
“The Arab society has an agenda. They want to Islamize the world. Arab society is, generally and without generalizations, a violent society.”
In March 2009, he called for “state-sponsored revenge” to restore “Israel’s deterrence.”
“It’s time to call the child by its name: Revenge, revenge, revenge. We mustn’t forget. We have to take horrible revenge.”
He referred to a Mercaz Harav yeshiva attack. He urged attacking innocent Palestinian civilians in response.
You can’t make this stuff up. Israeli educators drum this rubbish into young minds. They get it from pre-school through higher education. They get it in religious indoctrination.
They’re taught to hate. They’re taught Jewish exceptionalism. They’re told Muslim are inferior. They’re subhuman.
They’re vilified for their faith, ethnicity and presence. They’re wrongfully called violent. They’re dangerous. They’re gun-toting terrorists. Children, youths and adults are systematically lied to. It’s longstanding Israeli policy.
Textbooks repeat Big Lies. So do racist rabbis. Haaretz called Eliyahu “one of the most fundamentalist religious Zionist rabbis” in Israel.
He appears headed toward becoming Jerusalem’s chief rabbi. For over a decade, the city had none. For nearly 20 years, it had no active one.
Some Jerusalemite Jews favor abolishing the post altogether. They favor added funding for community rabbis.
Rabbi Aaron Leibowitz is municipal Yerushalmin party secretary. Jerusalem needs no chief rabbi who’ll send the city “backward,” he said. Or is “merely seeking provocations.”
As Safed chief rabbi, Eliyahi issued religious rulings. They prohibited Jews from selling or renting apartments to Arabs or foreign workers.
He called for ousting Zefat Academic College Arab students. After Ariel Sharon’s 2005 Gaza disengagement, he urged “taking revenge on the secular by returning their children to religion.”
He faced corruption charges. They involved giving civil servants false rabbinical ordination certificates. At issue was getting them pay raises. Accusations were ultimately dropped.
He’s considered close to Mayor Barkat. Before his reelection, he admitted admiring Eliyahu “very much.”
He said “he influenced my life in the positive sense, of course.” People close to Eliyahu confirmed he’s a candidate for chief Jerusalem rabbi.
Western sources strategically vilify Islamic fundamentalism. Extremist Jews are largely ignored. They’re dangerous. They influence government policy. They control Israel’s rabbinate.
Israeli Haredim are ultra-Orthodox extremists. They believe their way alone is right. Others are heretics.
Israel Shahak’s (1933 – 2001) “Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel” explained its pervasive, destructive influence on Israeli politics, the military and society.
He called all forms of bigotry morally reprehensible, saying:
“Any form of racism, discrimination and xenophobia becomes more potent and politically influential if it is taken for granted by the society which indulges in it.”
Israeli “support of democracy and human rights is…meaningless or even harmful and deceitful when it does not begin with self-critique and with support of human rights when they are violated by one’s own group.”
“Any support of human rights for non-Jews whose rights are being violated by the ‘Jewish state’ is as deceitful as the support of human rights by a Stalinist…”
Shahak discussed Jewish fundamentalist history. He explained messianic examples. They espouse Jewish superiority. Gentiles are inferior, they claim.
Fundamentalist Rabbi Abraham Kook (1865 – 1935) was significant. He said “(t)he difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews – all of them in all different levels – is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”
He helped create the settler movement. His son, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, founded the extremist Gush Emunim (“Bloc of the Faithful”) movement. Its slogan is “The Land of Israel, for the people of Israel, according to the Torah of Israel.”
Its adherents believe God created the world for Jews. Others are lesser beings. Greater Israel belongs to Jews alone. Holy wars are proper ways to assure it.
Kook was Israel’s first chief rabbi. He believed non-Jews in Israel “must either be enslaved as water carriers and wood hewers or banished or exterminated.”
His modern adherents teach these ideas. Jews are genetically superior, they believe.
Gentiles are completely evil. God’s 10 commandments don’t apply to non-Jews. Killing them to defend Israel is acceptable.
According to Shahak:
“A Jew who murders a gentile is guilty only of a sin against the laws of heaven, not punishable by a court.” It’s “no sin at all.”
A 1973 IDF Central Region Command booklet endorsed the same doctrine. It’s chief rabbi said:
“When our forces come across civilians during a war or in hot pursuit or in a raid, so long as there is no certainty that those civilians are incapable of harming our forces, then according to the Halakhah they may and even should be killed.”
“Under no circumstances should an Arab be trusted, even if he makes an impression of being civilized.”
“In war, when our forces storm the enemy, they are allowed and even enjoined by the Halakhah to kill even good civilians. That is, civilians who are ostensibly good.”
In 1996, Lubavitch Hassidic rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh expressed the same notion, saying:
“If a Jew needs a liver, can he take (one from) an innocent non-Jew? The Torah would probably permit that.”
“Jewish life has an infinite value. There is something more holy and unique about Jewish life than about non-Jewish life.”
During the second Intifada, IDF spokespersons justified killing Palestinian children stone-throwers. They claimed they “threatened human life.”
Israeli massacres like Cast Lead and Pillar of Cloud are justified the same way. Jewish lives alone matter. Killing Arabs is OK.
Dov Lior is chief Hebron and Kiryat Arba rabbi. He heads the Council of Rabbis of Judea and Samaria. His roots are hasidic.
He claims “no such thing as enemy civilians in war time. The law of our Torah is to have mercy on our soldiers and to save them.”
“A thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail.”
Rabbi David Barsri calls Arabs “a blight, a devil, a disaster, donkeys, and we have to ask ourselves why God didn’t create them to walk on all fours. Well, the answer is that they are needed to build and clean.”
Former Chief Sephardi Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu called for mass-murdering Palestinians, saying:
“If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill 1,000. And if they don’t stop after 1,000, then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill 100,000. Even a million. Whatever it takes to make them stop.”
Zionist zealots believe only Jews have rights. They consider Arabs enemies. They’re lesser beings. Killing them is OK to serve Jewish interests.
Former ultra-Orthodox Shas party spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef once called for annihilating Arabs.
He was militantly racist. He formerly served as Chief Sephardi Rabbi. Last October he died. He was 93.
Earlier he called Palestinians “snakes (and) accursed, wicked ones.” He claimed God regretted creating them.
It’s “forbidden to be merciful to them,” he taught. “You must send missiles to them and annihilate them.”
“They are evil and damnable.” He considers Katrina God’s wrath against Godless Blacks. He claims God said “let’s bring a tsunami and drown them.”
He compared non-Jews to farm animals. They’re only fit to serve Jews, he said.
“Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel.”
Jewish lives alone matter, he preached. “In Israel, death has no dominion over (Gentiles). They need to die, but (God) will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money.”
“This is his servant…That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew.’
‘Why are gentiles needed? They will work. They will plow. They will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat. That is why gentiles were created.”
Compassion wasn’t Yosef’s long suit. Nor respect for non-Jewish life. In 2010, he asked God to strike Palestinians with a plague.
These “evil people should perish from this earth,” he said. Other racist rabbis voice similar views. Killing non-Jews is blessed.
Imagine rabbis teaching the faithful this hatefulness. Imagine them tolerated for doing so.
Imagine them influencing Israeli policy. Imagine justifying daily state terror. Imagine decades of Palestinian suffering.
Imagine world leaders turning a blind eye. Imagine them letting Israel get away with murder. Imagine horrendous crimes without punishment.
Imagine sham peace talks planning sustained Palestinian harshness. Imagine Palestinians represented by longtime Israeli collaborators.
Imagine illegitimate Palestinian president Abbas agreeing to continued Israeli occupation. He said for three years. He supports enough wiggle room to stay forever.
He negotiated Oslo. He sold out over 20 years ago. Who believes he’ll do less now? Who trusts a traitor?
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.