"…The first inclination of many observers is to label young people who seek out nativist causes like ISIS or the Hilltop Youth as “crazy,” “lunatics,” or “hormone-laden kids.” But behind this perceived lunacy is a certain philosophy, or a general tendency, that we can trace back to leaders who either taught fundamentalist and nativist philosophies or whose teachings have been interpreted to support violence and terror. One such leader affiliates with the Chabad movement in Israel. His name is Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, and many Hilltop Youth attended the yeshiva Od Yosef Chai [which he founded and] where he serves as president…”
Hillel Gershuni, a journalist who is also a doctoral student in Talmud at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, writes in Tablet Magazine:
…The first inclination of many observers is to label young people who seek out nativist causes like ISIS or the Hilltop Youth as “crazy,” “lunatics,” or “hormone-laden kids.” But behind this perceived lunacy is a certain philosophy, or a general tendency, that we can trace back to leaders who either taught fundamentalist and nativist philosophies or whose teachings have been interpreted to support violence and terror.
One such leader affiliates with the Chabad movement in Israel. His name is Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, and many Hilltop Youth attended the yeshiva Od Yosef Chai [which he founded and] where he serves as president [i.e., "nasi," the top rosh yeshiva/dean and the final word in how the yeshiva is run educationally and administratively -- FailedMessiah.com] in the settlement of Yitzhar, a community that is home to some of Israel’s most extremist settlers. In a famous lecture during his protest of Israel’s disengagement from Gaza and removal of the Gush Katif community on its banks, Rabbi Ginsburgh poetically interwove Chabad and Kabbalistic writings to promote the delegitimizing of the State institutions. Known as “The shell and the fruit,” Ginsburgh’s speech used mystical metaphors to encourage the destruction of “shells” around the Jewish people. The sages compared the people of Israel, said Rabbi Ginsburgh, to a nut, and the nut has three shells. The shells, according to him, are Zionism, the Israeli courts, and the government. Now, said Rabbi Ginsburgh, the time has come to break the shells, overthrow Zionism, disobey the courts and oppose the government—every government—until a true Jewish regime is reborn.
Although now shunned by Rabbi Ginsburgh himself, his pupils started and continue to carry out “Price Tag” terrorism, or as they called it initially, “Mutual Responsibility,” or Arvut Hadadit in Hebrew. They burn Palestinians fields or mosques out of revenge for terror attacks, or just for spite. Outlaws attacked IDF vehicles to disrupt state-mandated evacuations of illegally built communities, and to deter Israeli forces from policing Jewish terrorists on hilltops.
A few of them took it one step further. A key figure here is Meir Ettinger, a grandson of Rabbi Meir Kahane, who has been in administrative detention by the State of Israel for six months, and who is a disciple of Rabbi Ginsburgh. He was even once a member of Rabbi Ginsburgh’s “Derech Chayim” movement, but abandoned it for its non-violent approach, and manifested the “rebellion manifesto,” which called for violence acts in order to shake the foundations of the State of Israel.…
The idea that Ginsburgh now "shuns" these violent thugs is, I think, wrong. What Ginsburgh and his close associates really did is is fill these thugs with the theological permissions to be racist violent revolutionaries, wind them up, and the let them roam free and kill and destroy. This was almost certainly done with intent and forethought. Helping Ginsburgh in this spawning of revolutionary terror are his two top students, Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur, both of whom are rosh yeshivas at Ginsbgurgh's yeshiva. The pair wrote the notorious handbook for racist violence, Torat HaMelech (the King's Torah), a book that sanctions the murder of Palestinian babies sleeping in their cribs because they will only grow up to hate us anyway. Ginsburgh endorsed the book.
Defenders claim that horrific legal ruling and other similar halakhic (Orthodox Jewish law) rulings included in Torat HaMelech (and based on Ginsburgh's understanding of halakha) are only theoretical because they are qualified by the the book's stated cavet that they are only to be applied in a time of war by a Jewish army fighting an enemy. What Ginsburgh defenders don't say is that Ginsburgh and his followers define the situation in the biblical Land of Israel for at least the past 80 years to be a "time of war." Add to that Ginsburgh's believe that the Zionist state and its army are Illegitimate, and the Douma (Duma) arson-murders of a Palestinian baby and his sleeping parents last July suddenly can be traced to its theological root.
That Ginsburgh did not directly order the Douma arson-murders may be true. But it is also true that he filled the murderer(s) with hatred and with the theological-legal system to support violently acting on that hate. Then Ginsburgh and cronies wound them up and let them loose to kill.
That Ginsburgh now hides behind a very thin and weak veil of supposed nonviolence doesn't matter.
Incitement to violence and murder and incitement to racism, are crimes in Israel, and arguably they still crimes even if the person doing them professes himself to be nonviolent. As long as there is a reasonable chance students or followers will act on the incitement and commit violent acts, the incitor – in this case, Ginsburgh – is responsible, at least in part, for them.
Ginsburgh owns part of the of Douma arson-murders just as he owns part of the wave of related hate crimes and price tag attacks he has incited, and if Israel doesn't find a way to punish him for it, the next wave of Ginsburgh-incited or Ginsburgh-inspired racist and anti-Israel violence will be much more violent and much more widespread than today's is.
But so far Israel hasn't shown itself to have the courage or the foresight to act.
No matter how many times Ginsburgh and his top associates have been investigated or charged with incitement, in the end they always walk free because Israel's courts, prosecutors and cops are unwilling to jail a rabbi for teaching "Torah" – no matter how twisted or dangerous those teachings may be.
Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) and rabbinic literature, together commonly referred to in Orthodox circles as "Torah," can be used to justify chattel slavery of Black Africans or justify abolition, they can be used to justify racism and oppose it, and they can even be used to justify terrorism or oppose it. In other words, in many ways Torah can mean whatever you want it to, whatever any rabbi wants it to mean. For Israel to stand by and allow Ginsburgh to walk free because his teachings are part of "Torah" is no different from allowing a rabbi to remain free who teaches traffickers of chattel slaves that chattel slavery is kosher. The sooner Israel comes to grips with this, the better – and safer – it will be for the vast majority of Israeli citizens who reject what Ginsburgh stands for and what he wants to achieve.