Archive for IDF

Settlers, Amongst IDF Soldiers Shoot at Palestinians

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2012 by loonwatch

Fanatical Yitzhar Settlers have once again attacked Palestinians. One Settler was armed with a “Tavor” rifle only used by IDF infantry soldiers. They were also accompanied by soldiers who according B’TSelem didn’t do enough to protect Palestinians from Settler violence.

Video: Settlers, amongst soldiers, fire on Palestinians

(Ma’an News)

An Israeli human rights group released footage on Sunday of settlers firing on a Nablus village a day earlier, and called on Israel’s military to investigate the assailants, as well as the army’s role.

Settlers entered Asira al-Qibliya on Saturday and threw rocks at properties in the village, which borders Yitzhar settlement, before the arrival of Israeli forces, a Ma’an correspondent said.

In the ensuing clashes Nimir Fathi, 24, was shot in the neck, while Ahmad Jaber Jibrel, 30, was hit in the face with a rock.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem released footage by volunteer photographers showing the settlers, some of whom were masked and armed, arriving in the village.

Palestinian youth from the village arrived and threw stones at settlers, and Israeli forces arrived at the scene, while rounds of live ammunition are heard, B’Tselem said.

The group said the footage raises “grave suspicions that the soldiers present did not act to prevent the settlers from throwing stones and firing live ammunition at the Palestinians … and in fact are seen standing by settlers while they are shooting and stone throwing.”

B’Tselem said the one settler used a “Tavor” rifle, only used by Israeli infantry soldiers, and called for the army to investigate suspicions that the assailant was thus a soldier on leave.

Another two settlers were armed with M4 rifles, and one with a pistol while another appears to be wearing a police cap, the group said.

B’Tselem said it had written to police and military authorities calling on them to apprehend the shooters and investigate the “suspicion that the soldiers did not adhere to their obligation to protect Palestinians from settler violence.”

An Israeli military spokeswoman said at the time that settlers has clashed with Palestinians in the village, and she was looking into further details.

The Secretary-General of the Palestinian Presidency Tayeb Abdel Rahim, visiting the wounded men in Rafidia Hospital in Nablus later Saturday, condemned the “barbaric attack by settlers.”

The Palestinian Authority will not stand idly by while these “completely unacceptable and reprehensible actions” take place, he said.

Abdel Rahim demanded the international community fulfill its responsibilities towards such “crimes that will lead to the collapse and security-destabilization of the region as a whole.”

In 2011, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that settler attacks had increased by 50 percent on the previous year.

Settler violence against local Palestinian communities is widespread, but figures compiled by Israeli rights group Yesh Din have repeatedly shown that nine out of 10 police investigations about settler crimes fail to lead to a prosecution.

Yossi Gurvitz: IDF Colonel-Rabbi Implies Rape is Permitted in War

Posted in Loon Rabbis, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2012 by loonwatch

Rabbi_Colonel_Eyal_Karim

Rabbi Colonel Eyal Karim

Israeli journalist Yossi Gurvitz describes himself as a former Orthodox Jew who claims to have seen the “light” and turned atheist at the age of 17. We are unfamiliar with his work but received this tip from a reader regarding one of his recent articles.

It is titled, IDF Colonel-rabbi implies: Rape is permitted in war. Colonel Eyal Qarim was questioned, (seemingly while not in uniform) about whether rape is permitted in war, and his answer implied that it was allowed.

Now I am unfamiliar with halacha or Jewish law, but my guess is it is a system as varied and expansive as Sharia’. Most likely you can find any opinion under the sun within halacha and so I am sure many will insist that the opinion proffered by the IDF Rabbi is not the only one, and is not the position of the IDF.

However, looking at the question and answer it exposes a troubling indication that an IDF Colonel Rabbi who was once being considered for the position of Chief Rabbi held the view that “rape is permitted in war.” More over it is not the first time that extremely problematic views have been expressed by influential IDF Rabbis.

It also brings us back to the question, “what if they were Muslim?”  If a prominent Muslim scholar had offered such an opinion one can be assured that it would be all over MEMRI.

Gurvitz omitted the whole question from the reader to the Rabbi, but we provide an approximate translation via. Google for context:

There have been various wars between nations, such as the First World War, for example, different nations fought each other, and no one was particularly good for the Jews or bad for the Jews…

But if they had captured a village and there were Jews and Jewish girls were raped, it is considered, rightly, a disaster and tragedy to the girl and family.

If yes, rape in war is considered a shocker. How, then was I told that a long, beautiful woman is allowed, according to some authorities, even before the process described in the Torah, I mean, surrender and lay with it created, and only then take her home, etc.?

This seems contradictory. After all, if rape is considered a civil war and not something shocking, why, apparently, Jews allowed?

Is it allowed in our days [sic] for an IDF soldier, for example, to rape girls during a fight, or is such a thing forbidden?

Now it’s very clear that the questioner is asking whether or not rape is allowed in war time. This is the answer that Rabbi Qarim gave (translation via. Gorvitz):

“The wars of Israel […] are mitzvah wars, in which they differ from the rest of the wars the nations wage among themselves. Since, essentially, a war is not an individual matter, but rather nations wage war as a whole, there are cases in which the personality of the individual is “erased” for the benefit of the whole. And vice versa: sometimes you risk a large unit for the saving of an individual, when it is essential for purposes of morale. One of the important and critical values during war is maintaining the army’s fighting ability […]

As in war the prohibition against risking your life is broken for the benefit of others, so are the prohibitions against immorality and of kashrut. Wine touched by gentiles, consumption of which is prohibited in peacetime, is allowed at war, to maintain the good spirit of the warriors. Consumption of prohibited foods is permitted at war (and some say, even when kosher food is available), to maintain the fitness of the warriors, even though they are prohibited during peacetime. Just so, war removes some of the prohibitions on sexual relations (gilui arayot in the original – YZG), and even though fraternizing with a gentile woman is a very serious matter, it was permitted during wartime (under the specific terms) out of understanding for the hardship endured by the warriors. And since the success of the whole at war is our goal, the Torah permitted the individual to satisfy the evil urge (yetzer ha’ra in the original  -YZG), under the conditions mentioned, for the purpose of the success of the whole.”

Gorvitz comments on this:

Wow. Herein lies a hornet’s nest. The first is that according to Qarim, the rape of female prisoners is not just permitted, it is also essential to war; the success of the whole at war relies on it.

….

Another problem is that Qarim invokes here the usual apologetics of those who speak of “Jewish morality”: he claims war is a conflict between nations, not individuals, and that the individual has no importance at war. The raped woman is not a woman, is not a person, has no feelings and if she feels pain it is unimportant: she is not a woman or a person, just an individual of an enemy tribe whose misfortune was to be captured. Furthermore, Qarim says that rape during wartime is immoral if carried out by a rival tribe – but all Jewish wars are, by definition, mitzvah wars. If the rape of the defenseless is part and parcel of “Jewish morality,” it’s not hard to reach the conclusion it is inferior to all modern morality systems. It is also worth noting (Hebrew) that “Jewish morality” is a by-product of German blood and iron romanticism.

Yet a third problem is that, essentially, Qarim says there is nothing which may be prohibited in war, if it is done “for the success of the whole.” We know that the killing of armed combatants is permitted (this is, after all, the essence of war), and we now learn that, for His Blessed Name, the rape of women is also permitted. Then we must ask ourselves whether it is also permitted, for the sake of victory, to also kill unarmed people. Children, for instance, who we have good reason to think may seek one day vengeance for the death of their fathers and brothers and the torturing of their mothers and sisters. The notorious book “Torat Ha’Melekh” answered in the affirmative; it would be interesting to know what Qarim thinks, and whether there is anything he thinks a Jewish soldier ought not to do for victory.

But the real problem here is that Eyal Qarim is an IDF colonel (Aluf Mishneh), and is a senior officer in the Military Rabbinate, i.e. is in a senior position in the IDF religious edicts apparatus. I’ve sent the following questions to the IDF Spokesman:

  1. Is the rape of women during wartime agreeable to the IDF Ethics Code?
  2. If not, why does a prominent military rabbi promote it?
  3. If not, does the IDF intend to end the service of Col. Qarim, or bring charges against him?
  4. How does the IDF Spokesman intend to deal with the anticipated damage to its image in the international arena, resulting from Col. Qarim’s ruling?

Frankly, I did not expect an answer, but surprisingly enough an enraged officer from IDF Spokesman New Media Unit called me. His official response was that Qarim was not an officer in active service when he wrote that ruling, and furthermore that my question “disrespects the IDF, the State of Israel and the Jewish religion,” and hence his unit will no longer answer my questions.

I told him that, as an Israeli citizen, I considered Col. Qarim to be a ticking time bomb, which will blow up in the IDF’s face should a soldier rape an enemy woman: it would automatically be seen as official policy. I told him this happened in the past. He vehemently denied it, and wouldn’t listen.

I think that the fact that Qarim was on hiatus at the time – earlier he was the religious officer of a crack unit, Sayeret Matkal (commando unit) – is unimportant. What is important is that the Military Rabbinate chose to re-call an officer who wrote such a ruling to active service. Qarim was briefly considered a candidate for the position of the Chief Military Rabbi. This is the face of the IDF in 2012, and this is the face of the rabbis it chooses to employ. There are certainly more humane rabbis than Qarim; yet somehow these are not the rabbis who are promoted.

IDF Soldier Linked to ‘Price Tag’ Attack in West Bank Palestinian village

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , on February 13, 2012 by loonwatch

Inscription 'Muhammad is a pig' painted on a Jerusalem mosque, Dec. 14, 2011.

Inscription ‘Muhammad is a pig’ painted on a Jerusalem mosque, Dec. 14, 2011.

These attacks continue. When will it come to an end?

IDF soldier linked to ‘price tag’ attack in West Bank Palestinian village 

An Israel Defense Forces soldier is suspected of perpetrating a so-called “price tag” attack in a Palestinian West Bank village, Haaretz learned on Friday, following recently intercepted security camera footage.

The Golani Brigade soldier and resident of the Itamar settlement was arrested along with two young women after footage indicated the three vandalizing the Palestinian village of Luban al-Sharqiya near Nablus.

According to a preliminary investigation, the three are suspected of entering the West Bank village on 1:30 A.M. Tuesday, where they sprayed the caption “Muhammad is a pig” on one of the walls and sabotaged a construction materials shop.

Security camera footage provided by Israeli NGO B’Tselem shows one of the young women stabbing sacks of building material piled up near the shop.

Later, a confrontation ensued between the three and local residents who woke up following the ruckus, during which the IDF soldier threatened the Palestinians with his rifle, causing them to flee the scene.

Suspects linked to the case were arrested on Thursday, with their arrest remanded until Monday.

The solder admitted to the act and is scheduled to be detained until Monday.

In addition, Orien Nizri from Jerusalem, known for her West Bank activism, and Sarah Goldberg from the settlement of Tapuach were arrested over suspicion that they were the young women in the car.

The young women are to be detained until Tuesday following a remand hearing in a Jerusalem magistrate’s court.

Haaretz, 10 February 2012

Dov Lior: Rabbi Who Supported the Murder of Babies Arrest Causes Firestorm in Israel

Posted in Loon Rabbis with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2011 by loonwatch
Wild Celebrations as Rabbi Dov Lior is Released from Prison

Where do we even begin with this one? We did a story on the Rabbi’s who penned and supported the work, “The King’s Teachings,” in which all manner of immoral actions are allowed in the name of security. At the time and since, nearly the entire religious establishment of Israel has supported the Rabbis, even if some have not given their explicit endorsement.

Do we have to ask, what if they were Muslim?

(Hat tip: Tony)

There is more at Haaretz as well about the reaction from parliamentarians who are outraged at the arrest of Lior.

Rabbi’s Arrest Provokes New Friction Between Religion And Government In Israel

(Huffington Post)

JERUSALEM — The arrest of a prominent Israeli settler rabbi who endorsed a book sanctioning the killing of non-Jews under some conditions is sharpening the battle lines between some Jewish religious sages and the Israeli government.

After Rabbi Dov Lior, spiritual leader of the radical Kiryat Arba settlement in the West Bank, was detained and brought in for police questioning, hundreds of his followers, most of them teenagers, went on a rampage. Other rabbis fulminated against the idea that a rabbi could be arrested at all.

On the other side, secular Israelis complained that some rabbis in Israel think they are above the law.

Lior, a longtime symbol of religious and nationalist extremism, was brought in for questioning Monday after his car was stopped on a West Bank road. Lior, who was freed after a brief interrogation, accused officers of “Bolshevik” tactics.

Joining critics of his own government’s action, the Minister of Religious Affairs, Yaakov Margi, raged that the rabbi, who is in his late 70s, was “abducted on his way to Jerusalem like the lowest criminal.”

Lior was brought in Monday after ignoring a series of official police orders to report for interrogation.

His arrest angered supporters as a mark of disrespect for a venerated scholar.

Hundreds of disciples tried to block the road to the entrance to the city, snarling traffic at afternoon rush hour. Others tried to attack the Supreme Court. Hundreds besieged the home of a government official they thought was responsible for the arrest warrant.

The warrant had been pending for months in connection with a preface Lior wrote in support of a book, “The King’s Teachings.” The book quotes some religious sages as permitting, under certain conditions, the killing of non-Jews, including babies, “if there is a good chance they will grow up to be like their evil parents.”

Police wanted to question Lior over the possibility that his endorsement of the book was incitement to murder.

Backers accused authorities of assaulting Lior’s freedom of speech and complained that inflammatory statements by leftists against nationalist Israelis did not draw similar sanctions.

Critics of Lior and his camp saw a sign that some rabbis and their followers believe that secular law does not apply to them.

“Those who favor freedom of expression will of course find it difficult to accept as self evident the arrest of a person, any persona, for things that he said or wrote,” read an editorial in Wednesday’s Haaretz newspaper.

“But from the moment that the police decided to summon Rabbi Dov Lior to an investigation, he should have reported, even if he is firmly opposed to doing so, and taken advantage of every legitimate way of protesting against the claims against him,” Haaretz wrote, calling for Lior’s dismissal from his official, state-paid positions.

The Jerusalem Post wrote it was not clear that Lior committed a crime.

“He has, however, placed his rabbinic reputation behind a morally repugnant book” with “far-reaching and horrid implications, particularly in wartime settings,” the newspaper said.

Lior told reporters afterward that he ignored the police orders to report for questioning because he considered them illegitimate.

Although respected in the religious nationalist community, Lior’s teachings and commentaries have made him a polarizing figure in Israel for decades.

Following a shooting attack on a Jerusalem seminary in 2008, he ruled that Jewish law forbids employing and renting homes to Palestinians. He also praised Baruch Goldstein, the American immigrant doctor who massacred 29 Palestinians at a religious shrine in the West Bank city of Hebron in 1994.

Some rabbis have repudiated “The King’s Teachings,” which doesn’t explicitly mention Arabs or Palestinians.

On Wednesday, the Israel Hayom newspaper reported that a sequel to “The King’s Teachings” was in the works. Its author, Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, said he has sold more than 2,000 additional copies of “The King’s Teachings” since Lior’s arrest.

Shapira was arrested briefly for questioning about the book last year. No one has been charged.

Breaking News: Benjamin Netanyahu’s Son Hates Islam and Muslims

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2011 by loonwatch

Can I just say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? Imagine if this had been a Muslim leaders son and he said something similar? Now Bibi is crying for context and understanding, sad.

Yair Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister’s Son, Creates Facebook Ruckus With Arab, Muslim Posts

JERUSALEM — The Israeli prime minister’s 19-year-old son posted disparaging comments about Arabs and Muslims on his Facebook page, an Israeli paper reported Friday

Earlier this year, Yair Netanyahu posted that Muslims “celebrate hate and death,” the Haaretz daily reported. After Palestinian assailants entered a West Bank settlement and stabbed five members of an Israeli family to death, he wrote that “terror has a religion and it is Islam.”

Yair Netanyahu, the eldest of the prime minister’s two sons, is currently a soldier in the Israeli military’s media liaison unit.

A lawyer for the Netanyahu family, David Shimron, said the comments were those of a “teenager” and were “taken out of context in an attempt to defame the prime minister and his family,” Shimron said in a statement provided to The Associated Press.

According to the Haaretz report, the prime minister’s son also ran a Facebook group that called for a boycott of Arab businesses and products, and used obscenities to describe Arabs. He was 17 at the time. The group had a total of 23 members, the paper reported.

In another comment, he wrote that there had never been a Palestinian state and that he hoped “there would never be one.”

Haaretz said the comments in question were removed within two hours of the paper’s request for a response from the prime minister’s representatives.

The younger Netanyahu’s Facebook page also included comments on the Israeli version of the TV show Big Brother and a “like” directed at Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli, alongside photos of himself with world leaders like Bill Clinton and Silvio Berlusconi.

A military spokesman said commanders had spoken to Netanyahu “to clarify to the soldier the military commands, outlining his mistakes, as would be done with any soldier in a similar situation.”

Some of the comments predated his military service, the military said.

Shimron, the Netanyahu family’s attorney, slammed Haaretz for reporting the comments.

“Bringing them up now is ridiculous and shows the cynical use of the words of a teenager, said in anger, when he could not imagine that someone would someday make use of them,” the lawyer wrote.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife believe in moderation and tolerance, and they respect all people without regard for their religion, origin or nationality and that is how they raise their children,” the statement said.

The families of Israeli leaders have typically been kept out of the spotlight, but Netanyahu’s family has sometimes drawn media attention in ways that have been a liability for the Israeli leader.

Sara Netanyahu, the prime minister’s third wife, has been criticized for allegedly mistreating her household staff and for meddling in state affairs. She has denied the accusations.

Students on trip to IDF base simulated shooting targets with Arab headdress

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on April 4, 2011 by loonwatch
Herzliya’s Hayovel School. Activities included target practice on silhouettes wearing keffiyehs. Photo by: Nir Keidar

Students on trip to IDF base simulated shooting targets with Arab headdress

Incident took place during at a military base where students were being escorted as part of an ‘IDF preparation’ project, sanctioned by the Education Ministry.

By Or Kashti

Twelfth-grade students from Herzliya’s Hayovel High School took part in a simulated shooting attack in which the targets were figures decked out with the Arab keffiyeh headdress, Haaretz has learned.

The incident took place at a military base last week during the annual 12th grade trip. The students were being escorted to a commanders’ base in the Negev as part of an “IDF preparation” project, which is sanctioned by the Education Ministry.

According to a person familiar with the details, the event was tantamount to “educating toward hatred of Arabs.”

“Some citizens of the State of Israel wear keffiyehs,” the source said. “Now they are viewed as legitimate targets for a shooting simulation.”

The trip concluded on Thursday. In a notice that was sent to parents, the school said that “the course of the trip is an inseparable part of the educational curriculum in general, and the ‘IDF preparation’ in particular.”

The first day of the trip included “activities with soldiers in commanders’ school,” according to the notice. The students met with soldiers on the base and heard lectures about the army and the importance of conscription.

During one of the discussions, the students were told that whoever does not serve in a combat unit “does not perform meaningful service.”

During the visit to the base, some of the students took part in an “electronic shooting range,” a computer-generated simulation that recreates a setting in which a soldier uses a laser-guided weapon to shoot targets. According to sources, the images in the electronic shooting range were outfitted with keffiyehs.

“From what I understood, the boys were more excited about this visit than the girls, some of whom preferred not to take part,” said the parent of one student on the trip. “I don’t think that it’s the education system’s job to train students to shoot.”

The “IDF preparation” project usually entails the visit of army officers to schools as well as occasional class trips to army bases for educational and instructional activities. This is believed to be one of the first times a visit to an army base has included students’ participation in a military activity. Children who are eligible for conscription usually undergo introductory military training as part of “Gadna Week,” which is not under the purview of the school system.

A school official said that the use of an electronic simulator that depicted a target wearing a keffiyeh “is certainly problematic, but this is a wider and more fundamental issue than our visit to the base. We have no intention of teaching the students to shoot people with keffiyehs.”

The Education Ministry did not issue a comment as of press time.

Baltimore: Ex-Israeli Special Forces Vigilante Assaults Teenager

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , on January 11, 2011 by loonwatch

What if he were Muslim? Imagine if instead of the Israeli Special Forces he had been part of the Turkish Special Forces or Saudi Special Forces? Think of the horror that the right-wing would respond with if there were a Muslim patrol group?

Member of Jewish patrol group accused of striking teen in city

(Balitmore Sun)

by Justin Fenton

With matching jackets and radios and a hotline staffed around the clock, members of an Orthodox Jewish citizen patrol group in Northwest Baltimore view themselves as a necessary complement to city police to keep their neighborhood safe.

But one member may have recently taken the role too far. On Tuesday, a participant in the Shomrim patrol organization was arrested after allegedly striking a 15-year-old boy and telling him, “You don’t belong around here.”

Police arrested 23-year-old Eliyahu Eliezer Werdesheim, a former Israeli special forces soldier, and charged him with first-degree assault, reckless endangerment and false imprisonment in a Nov. 19 incident in the 3300 block of Fallstaff Road. According to court records, the teen’s wrist was broken in the scuffle and he suffered cuts to the back of his head.

“Shomrim has and continues to be a good partner in making the northwest community safer,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Wednesday. “However, this individual took the law into his own hands, and the Baltimore Police Department will not tolerate acts of vigilantism from any organization.”