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Rabbi Noam Perel, go home!

The Secretary General of World Bnei Akiva must be dismissed for using words of Torah to incite to violence

Among the noble things we have heard from Yeshivat Mekor Hayim and the bereaved and hurt families, we heard many obnoxious cries of unfathomable hatred for revenge, and calls for lynch. But the instigators didn’t stop with words. Actions of ‘tag mehir’ (retribution), violence, stabbing in K’far Kassem and many other incidents are sweeping the streets.

It would be easy to blame the racist cries as incitement by the extreme, somnambulant, Kahanistic right. But this is not the case.

I would like to bring one event as a case study.

The secretary General of the World Bnei Akiva, Rabbi Noam Perel, formerly a head of a high-school yeshiva, a leading educator in the mainstream of religious Zionism, wrote Tuesday on his Facebook, and to all the shlichim emissaries of Bnei Akiva worldwide, inciting and defamatory words that encourage violence against innocent people. “By the blood of our enemy this disgrace will be absolved, not by our tears,” Perel wrote.

Perel explained that he uses what he calls “biblical and poetic style.” Woe to us if we accept such “style” as a moral edict for the education of our children or as a directive for the Israel Defense Forces. No such black flag can be permitted to fly over the Torah of Israel or the ethical code of the one who leads World Bnei Akiva.

A short while ago, the leaders of the Jewish communities in Scandinavia, who for many years have been sending their children to Bnei Akiva programs, demanded the immediate dismissal of Rabbi Perel from his post. The communities’ leaders are not prepared for him to be the one responsible for guiding the education and Jewish morality in whose light their children are being educated in Bnei Akiva.

I know that there are many harsh reactions and cries for the resignation of Rabbi Perel coming from Bnei Akiva in Israel and around the world. It would be good to hear this demand also from Bnei Akiva’s associates: the heads of the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency for Israel. Otherwise, the stain will be on us all.

Rabbi Perel, yesterday night you said on television Channel 10 that you stand behind your words and sit behind your words, so I suggest: Go home with your words. Enough with the blasphemy at this dire time for the nation of Israel.

About the Author
Rabbi Michael Melchior is a leading advocate for social justice in Israel, education for all, Jewish-Arab reconciliation and co-existence, protection of the environment, and Israel-Diaspora relations. Through his work, Rabbi Melchior seeks to strengthen Israeli civil society so it may catalyze significant social change in the State of Israel. He was a member of Knesset for the Meimad Party. Rabbi Melchior continues to hold the title of Chief Rabbi of Norway.
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