Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Monday 26 July |
Saint of the Day: Sts Joachim and Anne
home iconNews
line break icon

Bishops in Holy Land Accuse Extremist Rabbi of Inciting Violence

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=154957598&amp;src=id" target="_blank" />Dome on Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, Israel </a> © S1001 / Shutterstock​

&lt;a href=&quot;http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=154957598&amp;src=id&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot; /&gt;Dome on Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, Israel&nbsp;&lt;/a&gt; &copy; S1001 / Shutterstock

John Burger - published on 08/11/15 - updated on 06/07/17

Leader of hardline group stated that burning churches to fight "idolatry" was justifiable

Relations between Catholics and Jews has perhaps never been better, but a group of bishops in the Holy Land found the remarks of a rabbi so incendiary last week that they filed a complaint about him.

The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land filed a complaint against Israeli Rabbi Bentzi Gopstein and the Lehava movement, following remarks the rabbi made about supporting and encouraging the burning of churches in Israel.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem reported that Rabbi Gopstein, leader of what it called an "anti-Jewish assimilation extremist movement" made the remarks at a panel discussion for yeshiva students. "He did not hesitate to assert that Jewish law advocated destroying the land of idolatry Israel, and therefore churches and mosques could be burned," a press release from the Patriarchate said:


These remarks, which came after a troublesome act of vandalism against the Holy Place of Tabgha in Israel, are unacceptable to the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land. They incite hatred and pose a real threat to the Christian religious buildings in the country.

The Catholic community in the Holy Land is fearful and feels in danger. …  

The AOCHL calls on the Israeli authorities to ensure real protection for Christian citizens of this country and their places of worship.

In addition, the Custody of the Holy Land called on Israel’s Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to indict Gopstein on charges of incitement to racism, YNet News reported. 

According to the Jerusalem Post, a journalist and editor with the ultra-Orthodox Jewish daily newspaper Yated Ne’eman haredi, Benny Rabinowitz, asked Gopstein during Tuesday’s debate whether he is in favor of burning Christian churches in Israel.

In recordings obtained by the Kikar Hashabbat haredi news website, Gopstein is heard replying, “Are you against [medieval Jewish philosopher Moses] Maimonides or in favor of him?”

Rabinowitz, also a participant in the panel, replied, “Don’t talk to me about Maimonides, I asked you what you think.”

Gopstein replied, “For sure… Did Maimonides rule that you need to destroy or not? Idolatry needs to be destroyed.”

Following the publication of the recording of the conference, Gopstein issued a statement saying his comments were made only in the context of theoretical Jewish law. His statement read in part:


In a closed panel in Wolfson Yeshiva a debate arose on Maimonides’s opinion on Christianity. During the debate, I said that according to Maimonides one needs to destroy idolatry.

I emphasized several times that I was not calling to take operative steps, but rather that this was Maimonides’s stance, and that this [step] would be incumbent on the government and not individuals.

Tags:
Christians in the Middle EastIsrael
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
morning
Philip Kosloski
This morning prayer is easy to memorize
2
Daniel Esparza
5 Curious things you might not know about Catholicism
3
Joachim and Anne
Philip Kosloski
Did Jesus know his grandparents?
4
ORGAN
J-P Mauro
Reconstructing a 12th-century pipe organ discovered in the Holy L...
5
MACHAERUS
Daniel Esparza
3 Legendary pilgrimages off the beaten path
6
ŁACINA
Philip Kosloski
Why is Latin the official language of the Church, instead of Aram...
7
SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been know...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.