The Extremist Rabbi Who Reigns Unobstructed

If Rabbi Dov Lior were Muslim, Israel would probably have assassinated him, but the religious leader who calls for murder has support even from moderates.

Sefi Rachlevsky
Sefi Rachlevsky
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Sefi Rachlevsky
Sefi Rachlevsky

Sometimes, one advertisement is enough to make everything clear. On Sunday, the day before the 18th anniversary of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, an advertisement appeared in this paper about Rabbi Dov Lior. It wasn’t an ad calling for him to be indicted. Rather, it was a statement of sweeping support for “the great Rabbi Lior, may he live long and happily,” calling him a “teacher of tens of thousands” and attacking the Knesset member who dared say something negative about Lior and thereby merited having someone spit in his face. It is signed by 105 important rabbis – rabbis who receive their salaries from the state.

For anyone whose memory has been blurred by the comprehensive campaign of oblivion, it’s important to recall just who this great rabbi, this “teacher of tens of thousands,” really is. This is the man whom Rabbi Yoel Bin-Nun fingered as the source of the religious rulings that ultimately led to Rabin's death, since the rulings deemed Rabin a rodef and a moser, meaning that his murder was permitted under Jewish law because it was considered self-defense. This is the man to whom the murderer turned again and again to hear his teachings.

Lior was also the rabbi of Baruch Goldstein, who murdered 29 Muslim worshippers at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron the year before the Rabin assassination. After the 1994 massacre, Lior praised him and said, “Baruch Goldstein is a holier martyr than all the holy martyrs of the Holocaust.”

Lior is also the person behind the incitement-filled book “The King’s Torah: Laws of Killing Non-Jews.” And Menachem Livni, the commander of the 1980s-era Jewish Underground who was convicted of murder, testified that Lior was the one who conceived the idea, pushed it and sent him and his fellows to murder innocent Arabs. In particular, he said “the great Lior” was the one who pressed them to blow up six buses, with the passengers aboard. It was while they were planting bombs in these buses that the underground members were caught.

This is the man behind whom 105 of Israel's rabbis, including those from so-called “moderate” communities like those of Gush Etzion, have mobilized. Behind a man who praised mass murder. Behind a man whom the murderers of innocents fingered as the one who sent them. Behind a man whom important rabbis identified as the one behind the rulings that led to a prime minister’s assassination. Behind him. They got together to urge that nothing be allowed to detract from the rabbi’s glory, which fills the entire earth.

If Lior were a Muslim religious leader responsible for similar attacks on Jews, in a best-case scenario Israel would try and convict him, sentencing him to dozens of consecutive life terms on the basis of far weaker evidence. The more likely scenario is that he would be the target of a “pinpoint prevention,” as the army euphemistically terms assassinations.

But Lior is Jewish. And therefore, his partner in orchestrating demonstrations where they chanted “With blood and fire, we will expel Rabin” publicly called Lior “the elite unit leading the State of Israel.” That partner is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who, seven months after this incitement, took over Rabin’s official residence.

In a state that was even semi-normal, anyone who was involved, even slightly, in the incitement leading to a prime minister’s murder would vanish from the public stage forever. Here, the exact opposite occurred. Crime and punishment were turned on their heads. Ever since, this has been a criminal state.

How brazen, therefore, was the tirade by that man who poses as finance minister against the young people who escape to Germany. Israel no longer exists. It has been conquered by the State of Lior. And when the poseur embraces his “brother,” Habayit Hayehudi chairman Naftali Bennett, he is embracing a party in which one-third of the MKs were essentially appointed by Lior.

This is the moment, before the darkness swallows everything, to abandon petty political egoism and drop the self-deception that the government of Netanyahu, Bennett and Lior is the one that will evacuate more than 100,000 settlers; without an evacuation of that scope, there will be no peace agreement. This is the time to understand what ought to be self-evident – either this will be Rabin’s Israel, or it will be the State of Lior. There is no third alternative.

Even if it seems as if Israel has already been defeated by the State of Lior, there’s nothing more contemptible than losing without a fight. Anyone who doesn’t understand that the dream of generations has been put in the crosshairs by those who believe in the rightness of murdering Rabin will never learn anything. Lior doesn’t yet command a majority of the public. But defeating him will require a real unification of forces.

Just as 105 destroyers of Israel signed the ad in praise of Dov Lior, everyone who opposes their support of murderousness must also rise up. We must rise up and understand that it’s either the State of Lior or the State of Israel. Rise up and abandon the Netanyahu-Bennett government. Instead of rescuing it, topple it immediately.

Without Hatnuah chairwoman Tzipi Livni, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid and Labor Party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich, the government of Lior has no majority. This is the last possible moment.

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