The state prosecution ordered an investigation into prominent kabbalist Rabbi David Batzri and his son, Rabbi Yitzhak Batzri, for suspected incitement to racism.
According to prosecution lawyer Shai Nitzan, the two used unacceptable means in attempt to convince residents of Jerusalem’s Pat neighborhood to protest a local bi-lingual school where Arab and Jewish children study together.
The Arabic-Hebrew school opened nine years ago and until recently enrolled students from first through sixth grade. After a recent initiative to expand the school to serve seventh and eight grades as well, it was decided to construct a new building on the seam line between the Jewish neighborhood Pat and the Arab neighborhood Beit Safafa.
Construction on the school begins next week with a ceremony for the laying of the cornerstone, and its completion is expected in two-and-a-half years.
The project has met some enthusiasm, and recently a philanthropist from England contributed USD 3.5 million towards the school. However, not everyone is thrilled about the program. Leading an initiative against the school, Rabbi Batzri and his son held a conference two-and-a-half months ago where they made racist slurs against Arabs: “Arabs are a misfortune, a problem, Satan,” the two said, according to the prosecution.
'Arabs are asses'
At the conference, the elder Batzri told Pat residents: “The establishment of a school like this one is a despicable and impure act. Stand in the way and prevent this. Darkness and light cannot be mixed. The people of Israel are pure and Arabs are a nation of asses. The question must be asked, why didn’t God give them four legs, because they are asses.”
The son, Yitzhak Batzri, also made objectionable comments. “The Arabs are beasts and asses,” he said. “They are inferior, they want to take our daughters. People say we are racist, but – they are the evil ones, the cruel ones, the scum of snakes. This is war.”
Rabbi David Batzri, a leading kabbalist, has been known to spout his racist ideologies whenever the occasion arises. On Rosh Hashana he spoke to Ynet and said that a light earthquake which shook Israel portends a good year for Jews and a bad year for non-Jews, while the hot weather foretold that “The king of Egypt will die this year, and there will be hunger and sadness in all eastern nations where they worship false gods.”
Earlier last year, Batzri noted that the floods that killed thousands in the United States and left many more homeless were God’s punishment for the Americans' support of the disengagement from the Gaza Strip.