Israeli Rabbi May Face Indictment for Incitement to Violence Against Palestinians

Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, who co-wrote a controversial book on the killing non-Jews, published online articles praising perpetrators of hate crimes against Palestinians.

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Rabbi Yosef Elitzur of the Yitzhar settlement in court in 2010.
Rabbi Yosef Elitzur of the Yizhar settlement in court in 2010.Credit: Moti Milrod
Yotam Berger
Yotam Berger

A West Bank rabbi faces prosecution for incitement to violence against Palestinians.

The State Prosecutor’s Office informed Rabbi Yosef Elitzur of the Yizhar settlement Monday that Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit is weighing indicting him, subject to a hearing, for incitement. Elitzur, who co-authored a book called “The King’s Torah,” which discussed the Jewish laws surrounding the killing of non-Jews, would not be indicted for this connection but rather for writing inflammatory online opinion pieces.

In one article he wrote after the 2013 murder of Evyatar Borovsky at Tapuah Junction, he said: “There is a growing phenomenon of actions hot-blooded Jews are taking against the enemy. You can see them as desperate acts of a public pushed to the corner, but anyone who looks from up close will notice that they are the first signs of a growing public taking responsibility for the security of Jews The actions were directed mainly at the Arab population covering up the crime.”

A month later, Elitzur justified so-called “price tag” attacks by Jewish extremists against Palestinian targets. “The acts, which are born out of passion and mutual responsibility of Jews for one another, are not the purpose,” he wrote. “In the end, no one wants to live in anarchy, even if there is a time in which they are forced to live according to the rules of the jungle and to show the evil nations of the world that Jews can also play this game.”

The prosecution’s announcement comes in response to a September 2015 petition by members of the Israel Religious Action Center and anti-racism group Tag Meir to put Elitzur on trial for inflammatory publications dating back to seven years ago.

“Activity of mutual responsibility deflates the dreams of the people in power," Elitzur wrote in 2009. "If the Jews have not quiet, the Arabs will have no quiet; if Arabs are winning because of violence against Jews, then Jews, too, will win through violence against Arabs.”

The state postponed its response several times until now.

The United Kingdom has banned Elitzur’s entry in the past because of the publication of “The King’s Torah.”

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