Photo: Niv Rosenberg
Rabbi Shalom Cohen. 'Hands stained with clean blood'
Photo: Niv Rosenberg
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Chief Rabbi Lau. 'No Jewish justification'
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg

Shas rabbi: Jewish avengers subject to 'din rodef'

Haredi party's new spiritual leader says traditional Jewish law which calls for killing of a person 'pursuing' another person applies to murderers of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir.

The arrest of six Jewish suspects in the murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir in Shuafat raised was met with condemnation among Israel's prominent rabbis.



The harshest condemnation came from Rabbi Shalom Cohen, the new spiritual leader of the Sephardic Shas moment. Ynet has learned that Cohen told his associates on this way to a rally in memory of the three Israeli teens murdered by Palestinian terrorists that "those whose hands are stained with clean blood are subject to 'din rodef,' and their punishment from God cannot be described."


The rabbi was referring to the traditional Jewish "law of the pursuer," under which a person who is "pursuing" another to murder him or her must be killed by any bystander after being warned to stop and refusing.


"My heart bleeds at the evil rumor that a Jewish hands killed the soul of an Arab youth for no fault of his own," Rabbi Cohen told his associates. "One's ears will tingle upon hearing about the horrifying act which infuriates the nations and may lead to horrible bloodshed."


Israel's Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau expressed his shock over the murder, saying that "the trademarks of the Jewish people throughout the generations were modesty, mercy and charity. Murder, bloodshed and harming one's fellowman were never considered an option.


"The killing of an innocent youth has no Jewish justification," Rabbi Lau added. "It has nothing to do with vendetta against the teens' murderers."


'Violence must not be atoned for with violence'

The Tzhoar Rabbinical Council expressed its "shock and disgust at the possibility that a Jew murdered the Arab youth." The rabbis said in a statement that "this act completely contradicts the 'thou shalt not kill' commandment we received on Mount Sinai, the Jewish Law and basic human morals.


"This act leads to the defamation of the Torah and the Jewish people in the entire world. Our justified demand to prosecute the murderers of our three children and their assistants does not justify such a despicable act and obligates the Israeli government to put this criminals on trial – as soon as possible."


The Beit Hillel rabbinical association expressed its pain and astonishment at the murder as well, sending condolences to the youth's family.


"This murder, alongside other calls for revenge, desecrate God's name and violate the pure memory of our three slain teens," the association said in a statement. "The proper response for the teens' murder must come from the government, and in any event, no one must harm an innocent Arab in order to avenge the blood of Jews.


"We strongly condemn any voices of cruelty and murder within out camp. We will not atone for the violence and murderousness of our enemies with our own violence and murder.


"As the sons of Abraham we must maintain God's way and do justice and trial even at critical hours, when the heart aches and rage fills everything, and not to adopt our enemies' cruel ways," the rabbis added. "Anyone taking measures of cruelty and murder is removing himself from the people of Israel, staining the public with a horrible sin and causing damages to all the Jewish people."


The Derech Emunah rabbinical organization, which represents the more conservative line in the Religious Zionism movement, issued a condemnation against the murder of the three Israeli teens, Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach, calling on the public to avoid revenge.


The rabbis called for "the eradication of the enemy without hesitation" and urged the government to "target and destroy the murderers and those who sent them."


In the second part of the statement they stressed that "private individuals have no permission to act against others, even when we are grieving and hurting. There is a government in Israel, and no one must take the law into his own hands.


"We are shocked by the brutal murder to the Arab boy in Jerusalem, who was kidnapped from his parents' home and burned to death, last weekend. Such evil acts are not the way of Israel's Torah," they stressed, "and are strongly forbidden, both halachically and morally."


'There's no such thing as murder in God's name'

The Barkai Center for Practical Rabbinics called on community rabbis on Monday to exercise leadership and clarify that "our blood boils over the murder of our youths, and our heart aches over them, but the murder of the Arab teen has no room in the Jewish spirit, and there is no such thing as murder in the name of God."


The center's founders, Rabbi David Fine and Rabbi Shlomo Sobol, added that "a rabbi is highly influential at this time, and to the rabbis must comment on the situation and say clear things."


Samaria Chief Rabbi Elyakim Levanon issued a harsh statement of condemnation against the Arab teen's murder and demanded the death penalty for his murderers.


"Unfortunately, it turns out that Jews committed the murder of the Arab youth," he wrote. "Jewish law has no mercy when it comes to a brutal murder, regardless of whether it is the murder of Jewish teens or an Arab youth.


"Even when there is no court authorized to issue a death sentence, like the Sanhedrin, Israel's court can sentence a person who committed a public crime to death.


"The murderers who kidnapped and murdered the three teens must definitely be sentenced to death. The murderers of the Arab youth must also be sentenced to death in order to fulfill the verse: 'Thus you will put an end to this wickedness among you,'" Rabbi Levanon added.


"The State of Israel and its executive arm, the Israel Defense Forces and the security forces, are required and commanded to fight terror mercilessly until it is beaten and removed from the world."


פרסום ראשון: 07.09.14, 22:34
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