Eric Danis

Arab “Savages”

After the murder of Arab teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir by six Jewish extremists, one would hope that Israelis would be careful to avoid incitement to violence.

Torah Tidbits isn’t worried, apparently (pages 26-27). The Orthodox Union’s 50+ page booklet in English about the weekly Torah portion, which is distributed to synagogues throughout Israel and published online, continues to portray Arabs as less than human in its latest issue:

At the birth of Yishmael, the founder of the Arab nation, the angel tells his mother, Hagar, (in B’reishit 16) that he will be a ‘Pereh Adam’ which means a savage man. The Chofetz Chayim points out that the proper phrasing of the expression should have been ‘Adam Pereh’ because in Hebrew you put the noun before the adjective. So why does the word ‘Pereh’ come first? This is because regarding Yishmael (our peace partners) the savage comes before the human being.

– Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, dean of students, Diaspora University.

There you have it. We can extrapolate from the Torah that modern-day Arabs are “savages,” according to Rabbi Sprecher. Their savage nature apparently overrules their human side. Nowhere did Rabbi Sprecher try to limit his description only to Hamas or to terrorists. In fact, he was careful to include “our peace partners.” Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that Rabbi Sprecher has used Torah Tidbits to label and dehumanize his political enemies.

When will Torah Tidbits rid itself of this hate? Where is the outcry from readers? Why is Rabbi Avi Berman, Executive Director of OU Israel, allowing political incitement in Torah Tidbits?

It’s disappointing that a publication partially funded by The Jewish Agency for Israel and Israel’s Ministry of Education isn’t adhering to even basic standards of civility.

About the Author
Eric Danis lives in Modi'in, Israel with his wife and three cute kids. Whenever possible, he tries to dispel misconceptions and stereotypes about Israel and Judaism.