Ministry Funds Go to Outspoken Admirer of Baruch Goldstein

The Religious Affairs Ministry has been financing the association that distributes the writings of Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg, the author of the pamphlet "Baruch Hagever" (a play on words that can be translated as "Baruch the Man," or as "The Blessed Man"). The pamphlet lauded the massacre carried out in 1994 by Baruch Goldstein, who shot and killed 29 Arab worshipers at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

The ministry last week published on its Web site a list of the organizations that it funds, in accordance with the law on freedom of information. The list shows that in 2001, the association Gal Eini received NIS 141,454. The association's goal is to publish and distribute summaries and videos of Rabbi Ginsburg's teachings.

The figures published last week show state funding until September 2001, and it is very possible that the group received even more money later in the year.

In the pamphlet, Ginsburg declared that what Goldstein did constitutes "a fulfillment of a number of commandments of Jewish law... Among his [Goldstein's] good deeds, as enumerated, are ... taking revenge on non-Jews ... and the sanctification of the Holy Name."

Ginsburg was held in administrative detention for a period of two months in 1996 for his pronouncements, but the State Prosecution decided not to charge him and let him go.

This year, Gal Eini published a pamphlet in which Ginsburg called for the banishment of gentiles from Israel and for the annihilation of anyone endangering Jews.

The Religious Affairs Ministry spokesman responded that "Gal Eini received funding for the kollel (school for religious studies) and yeshiva that it operates."

"The ministry is required to provide funding for all organizations that meet its criteria, regardless of the opinions of whoever leads the group," said the spokesman.