A right-leaning Israeli rabbi has issued a religious ruling stating that the total destruction of Gaza is justified if military leaders consider it necessary. Rabbi Dvor Lior is considered to be one of the most extreme far-right religious leaders.
Lior wrote that during any war where the Jewish people deem
themselves to be under attack, they are legally allowed to fight
back against the nation from which the attack came from.
“Therefore, in a time of war, the attacked nation is permitted to punish the enemy population with whatever measures it deems proper, like blocking supplies or electricity. It may bomb the entire area based on the judgment of the war minister and not wantonly put soldiers at risk,” he wrote, adding that “deterrent measures to exterminate the enemy” are allowed, Haaretz reported.
However, his comments did not go unnoticed from those who disagree with his views. After his ruling was published, Mertz Zahava Gal-On, head of a left-wing Israeli party, asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to launch an investigation.
“Rabbi Dov Lior’s racist comments long ago lost the
protection of the right to free expression. These remarks follow
his racist comments through the years, among them his many
comments before the murder of [Yitzhak] Rabin and support for
Baruch Goldstein,” Gal-On wrote to Weinstein. Goldstein was
the man who gunned down 29 Muslim worshippers in Hebron in 1994.
Israel’s military campaign in Gaza over the past 15 days has so far resulted in the deaths of more than 600 Palestinians, many of them women and children, with more than 4,500 wounded.
In comparison, around 30 Israelis have been killed in the war, although Hamas puts the figure at 40.
Lior is a staunch supporter of the settlement movement; he believes that all land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean belongs to the Jewish race, and that Palestinians have no right to live there.
"All of those who believe in the Torah know that this land was promised solely to these people. There is no room for another national entity in this place. There has never been a state belonging to another people here. It belongs exclusively to the Jewish people," Lior wrote, as quoted by Deutsche Welle.
Lior was the spiritual teacher of Yigal Amir, who assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. Amir was opposed to Rabin’s signing of the Oslo peace accords.
Lior was arrested and questioned in 2011 for endorsing a book sanctioning the killing of non-Jews.