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Israeli rabbi charged with 'incitement' for condoning killing Palestinians

Rabbi Yosef Elitzur
Rabbi Yosef Elitzur

An extremist Israeli rabbi was today indicted for "incitement to violence" for authoring publications condoning the killing of non-Jews.

According to Israeli news website Ynet, Rabbi Yosef Elitzur was also charged with inciting violence against Palestinians in two articles he published in May 2013 following the killing of Israeli Evyatar Borovsky near the Zaatara military checkpoint in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus.

Ynet quoted the indictment as saying that on 1 May 2013, a day after Borovsky's death, Elitzur published an op-ed titled "Don't despair, just grow", in which he wrote, among other things: "There is a growing and expanding phenomenon of actions taken by warm and caring Jews against the enemy [Palestinians]," adding that such actions were "the first signs of a growing public that takes responsibility over Jews' security."

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In a statement, Anat Hoffman, executive director of the Israel Religious Action Centre (IRAC), one of the groups who filed the petition, said: "It is high time Israel cease to tolerate the intolerable."

A rabbi like him contaminates our Jewish tradition and pollutes our democracy. Freedom of speech ends when hate and violence are preached and practiced.

A February report released by the Arab Centre for Social Media Advancement – 7amleh documented that slanderous, provocative, and threatening posts made by Israelis against Arabs and Palestinians more than doubled in 2016, reaching 675,000 posts made by 60,000 Hebrew-speaking Facebook users – "while almost not a single case of incitement has been opened against Israeli instigators."

By contrast, Israeli forces detained at least 400 Palestinians in less than a year over social media activity, and 400 others were detained for the same reason by the Palestinian Authority through its widely condemned policy of security coordination with Israel, Israeli news daily Haaretz reported in April.

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