Leading Rabbi Justifies Attack on Jerusalem Bilingual School

Kiryat Motzkin's David Meir Druckman slams defense minister for considering Lehava a terrorist organization.

Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel
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A burnt classroom at Max Rayne Yad be Yad (Hand in Hand) School in Jerusalem, November 30, 2014.
A burnt classroom at Max Rayne Yad be Yad (Hand in Hand) School in Jerusalem, November 30, 2014.Credit: Emil Salman
Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel

Kiryat Motzkin’s Ashkenazi rabbi David Meir Druckman published an article on Chabad’s website a few days ago entitled “Bogie, I’m a proud terrorist” (referring to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s nickname), in which he railed against Ya’alon for his decision to consider labeling Lehava a terrorist organization.

The article opens with the words: “Not only is the mall crawling with Arabs luring poor daughters of Israel into their nets, not ceasing by day or night, but the entire main street of Kiryat Haim, Ya’alon’s birthplace, is full of decorated spruce trees. Cafes and restaurants, including those sanctioned by the rabbinate, are adorned with decorations marking their holiday denoting the first of January. Not one person raised a voice in protest!”

Further into his article Druckman, using stories that are meant to be read as parables, continues to elaborate his ideas. He comments on the statements of the defense minister and President Reuven Rivlin following the torching of the bilingual school in Jerusalem by Lehava activists: “I’m not at all surprised at the ideological and moral deterioration that was expressed in Ya’alon’s poor choice of words. It is a direct result of the expression of understanding and commiseration that were uttered by ‘the honorable’ president, directed at the bilingual school, which is merely a preparatory school for assured assimilation.”

Toward the end of his article Druckman states that “truly, if this were a proper Jewish state one would expect it to elevate and value Lehava, rewarding it and the person at its head. As in the past, if in future circumstances I would have to extricate a daughter of Israel from the risk of conversion, I would follow halakhic rulings as stated in the Shulhan Arukh (the 16th century codex of Jewish law) to the point of breaking the Sabbath laws. I wouldn’t hesitate to ask for the assistance of Lehava activists, may these righteous people be blessed with all the blessings of the Torah.”

In response to the article, Gadi Gvaryahu, head of Tag Meir (“Spreading the Light”), a coalition of organizations combating racism in the name of Judaism, sent a letter to the prime minister, who is also the acting justice minister. “If such a senior public official allows himself to praise the torching of a school what will more lowly officials say?” wrote Gvaryahu. He added that “these public statements amount to incitement to racism and sedition, aimed at fostering hatred toward the authorities and the courts, as well as arousing conflict and hostility between different sections of Israeli society. When such words are spoken by a rabbi holding public office it is needless to point out that they are not congruent with his position, and in their publication the rabbi is abusing his position.”

This isn’t the first time Druckman has expressed such sentiments. He was previously detained after signing a rabbis’ petition calling on employers not to employ Arabs. Over the years he has had many disputes with Kiryat Motzkin’s mayor Haim Tzuri, as well as with other city councillors. It was learned last week that Tzuri is corresponding with cabinet members, chief rabbis and the state comptroller in an attempt to remove Druckman due to his controversial conduct.

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