In November 2009, the world was stunned to learn of a shockingly popular book in Israel, The King’s Torah. It advocates murder of non-Jews and even their babies, claiming such infants would only grow up to become enemies of Israel. Ha’aretz says the book received “wide dissemination and the enthusiastic endorsement of prominent rabbis.” Some rabbinic authorities have condemned it, but many influential Orthodox leaders have chosen to remain noncommittal. (Ha’aretz, March 23, 2010, “The King’s Torah: A Rabbinic Text or a Call to Terror?”) They recognize that anti-Arab sentiment and sympathy, even with violent militancy against Palestinians, continues its dramatic upswing in Israel.
The book’s primary author, Yitzhak Shapira, was arrested in February 2010 for violating Israel’s law against incitement to religious hatred. However, he is reported not to fear imprisonment because of his influence and stature as a prominent head of the ultra-Orthodox settler movement. That confidence has been vindicated by lack of significant prosecution of Shapira for nearly a year.
Recently, a poll in Israel found a majority of Israelis approve the racist rights of Jewish property owners who refuse to sell or rent to Arabs.
(See, Most Israelis Approve Racist Rabbis) Just as significantly, the government of Israel itself seems outwardly divided between bland expressions of tolerance by Prime Minister Netanyahu versus “inflammatory statements” and “unbridled incitement” of the ultra-Orthodox by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Ha’aretz, January 12, 2011, “The Extreme Right’s Incitement Will End in Murder”).As Israel descends into ultra-Orthodoxy, increasingly violent solutions to the “Arab problem” are proposed. A recent Ha’aretz editorial describes an ultra-Orthodox video that recommends killing authorities and police who aid Palestinians attacked by settlers.Factions in the highest levels of Israel’s government, including the cabinet and Knesset, are sympathetic to the militant far right. Ha’aretz: “Scarcely a day goes by… without the coalition joining hands with the extreme right in order to depict non-Jews as hostile elements – and Israeli Human Rights groups protecting Arab rights, as enemies of the state.”more