Jerusalem rabbis indicted for racist incitement

13 01 2008

The state has filed an indictment against two Jerusalem rabbis on charges of racist incitement regarding anti-Arab statements they made during a rally protesting the establishing of a bilingual school for Jews and Arabs in the capital’s Patt neighborhood.

The defendants are Rabbi Yitzhak Batzri, head of the Hashalom Kabbalist yeshiva, and his son David. They are liable to a prison term of up to five years if convicted.

The event in question took place on January 9, 2006 during a rally a the community center against the establishment of the school. About 200 people came to hear several rabbis speak against the plan.

One of them, Yitzhak Batzri, said, “The Arabs are donkeys and beasts. They are inferior. What do they want? To take our women. They say we are racist. In reality, they are the wicked and cruel ones. They are imbued with the filth of the snake. There are pure and impure, and they are impure. You residents of Patt must not give in.”

David Batzri told the audience, “The establishment of this school is an act of abomination and impurity. One can’t mix impure and pure. Of course we must stay apart from all the nations. You must stand in the breach and prevent this. It is forbidden to mix darkness with light. The nation of Israel is pure. The Arabs are a nation of donkeys. They are an affliction, a demon, a pestilence.

“Why, one may ask, did God not create them to walk on all fours, since they are donkeys? The reason is that they must build and clean, but must always understand that they are donkeys. There is no room for them in our schools.”

“In the acts they committed as described above, the defendants published something meant to incite to racism,” the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office wrote in the indictment, which was filed in Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.

Attorney Einat Horowitz, who represents The Israel Religious Action Center, which filed the original complaint against Yitzhak and David Batzri and several other rabbis, including Beersheba Chief Rabbi Yehuda Deri, said she was pleased with the decision.

“In the past few years we have been witness to a worrisome increase in racist expressions by rabbis and Jewish religious leaders, who make distorted use of Jewish tradition,” she said in a statement. “This phenomenon obliges the law enforcement authorities to make use of all legal tools at their disposal to eradicate it. The prosecution’s decision, although belated, is a step in the right direction and we hope that it is the harbinger of an increasing severity in the law enforcement policy against racist manifestations.”  The Jerusalem Post

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