Orthodox Judaism in all its forms and democracy do not mix. There is no better proof of that assertion than what Rabbi…
…Yisrael Rozen just did.
Rabbi accuses Peace Now of grave sin
Yisrael Rozen writes article blaming left-wing organization for tale-bearing. Quoting Maimonides, he says punishment for such behavior is death; Peace Now head threatens to press charges
By Kobi Nahshoni
Rabbi Yisrael Rozen, head of the orthodox-affiliated, non-profit Zomet Institute, has expressed perhaps the most strident censure possible in Judaism for Peace Now activists, who are fighting to uproot settlers from the Migron settlement.
"Such tale-bearing is known in Hebrew as 'moser' (informer)… Individuals who have sunk to this lowest level of behavior were despised and shunned (in Jewish tradition). They are considered worse than
heretics or apostates," wrote the rabbi in an article published in "Shabbat BeShabbato", a leaflet distributed in Israeli synagogues weekly.
Rozen wrote that, according to halacha (Jewish law) the punishment of such tale-bearing was death.
The rabbi quoted Maimonides, who wrote "a person who turns over a Jewish person or his property to Gentiles is a moser and has no part in the world to come… It is permissible to execute the moser even today when there is no capital punishment… it is permissible to kill the moser before he informs… If he has been told not to inform and insists on informing, then he who executes the moser first has great merit."
However, he immediately followed this statement with a warning against taking the law into one's own hands, stating that "the trial of capital offenses is the office of the court and it is not the duty of individuals to implement this particular halacha."
In his article, the rabbi addresses a recently drafted arrangement between the Yesha Council and the Defense Ministry, which allows for the eviction of the controversial Magron settlement in exchange for resettlement of the community in another region.
In reference to this, the rabbi paints a picture of the current political struggle as a struggle "between the ideology of 'Gush Emunim and the ideology of Peace Now."
"It is actually more accurate to say that the struggle is not really ideological, rather it's practical-tactical to an astonishing degree – faith-based land-holding vs. short-term motivated talebearing," he elaborated.
Rozen claims that the Palestinians who technically own the land in question had no idea that this was the case, but that Peace Now researched the matter and informed them. By doing so, Rozen claims, Peace Now used them "as a handle in war between left and right, between the Jews."
"This kind of tale-bearing, to the court or to the European Union and wealthy non-governmental foundations across the world, is called 'moser'," he said.
In response, Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer said that "the legal authorities must not stand for the phenomenon that is evidenced by alleged rabbi Yisrael Rozen, and not allow such incitement and calls to murder."
"Peace Now will continue in its struggle to put a stop to the illegal construction of settlements and the struggle for a sane future for the State of Israel. The organization will appeal to the Attorney-General in order to file charges against the rabbi and his dangerous words," he said.
Yes, Rabbi Rozen did say to avoid vigilante attacks, and said it is the job of the courts to enforce the "law" he wants enforced.
Make no mistake about it – Rozen wants Peace Now leaders killed. But Rozen knows there are Jews who will understand his message as a coded call for vigilante attacks on Peace Now leaders, and there is a small but significant number of those Jews who may choose to act.
Rozen should be indicted immediately.
UPDATE 8-31-08 – After viewing Rabbi Rozen's remarks in context, I still believe what he did is wrong, akin to shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater. But I now do not think what he wrote is an indictable offense. Still, what he wrote is wrong – dangerously so - and for that he should be punished – if not in a court of law, then in the court of public opinion.