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Mercaz HaRav - a training centre for illegal occupation, murder and 'Arabs to the Gas Chambers'
Mick Napier, Chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
21 March 2008
A Palestinian killed eight Israeli students in a settler movement training centre, in retaliation for Israel’s massacre of over a hundred Gazans, mostly civilians. Hundreds of the seminary students later chanted “Death to the Arabs” at the gates of their seat of learning. This was somehow missed by the BBC.
“The difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews – all of them in all different levels – is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”
Rabbi A.Y. Kook, founder of Mercaz HaRav yeshiva
British prime Minister Gordon Brown, following Bush, hurried to condemn “the murders” of the Israelis at the settlers’ training centre. This contrasts with his deep silence during Israel’s recent massacres in Gaza. The word "murders" could never pass his Presbyterian lips to describe what Israel does to thousands of Palestinian women and children.
The BBC would have us believe that Mercaz HaRav yeshiva is a normal school where 'religious students' pursue esoteric religious studies. In fact Mercaz HaRav is the main educational and training centre of the fanatical Israeli settler movement, Gush Emunim, what the British newspaper,The Independent, somewhat disingenuously calls the “controversial settler movement”. Many Mercaz HaRav graduates fill the ranks of Gush Emunim, which organises attacks on Palestinians from Jewish-only military settlements across the West Bank as part of its declared aim of dispossessing Palestinians of 100% of Palestine.
15 January 2008: "settlers stop next to a cistern in Humra Valley, open the lid and raise the bucket. Such activity raised suspicions in the village because of previous incidents when area cisterns have been poisoned with dead chickens or dirty diapers....an international NGO [obtained] results from a university lab [which] showed the water had pH 2.4 (potable water has a pH of approximately 7), and a high number of solubles. The NGO determined the water was `contaminated', and said it is not healthy for humans or animals."
The parent organisation, Gush Emunim, is heavily armed and carries out the most revolting crimes against innocent Palestinians across the West Bank. This writer has visited the Palestinian village of Yanun after settlers had washed their dogs in the Palestinians’ drinking water. A Medieval ideology goes hand in hand with Medieval tactics - Hebron settlers poison village wells with putrescent chickens. They beat and shoot Palestinians, poison their sheep, generally act like the violent thugs they are. One well-known graduate of Mercaz HaRav, Rabbi Moshe Levinger, who founded the colonies of ultras in Hebron was such a vicious psychopath towards Palestinians that he was even found guilty of killing a Palestinian by an Israeli court, for which he served three months in detention. Rabbi Levinger was also found guilty of unprovoked assaults on women and children, unusually, since the settlers enjoy complete immunity; many a Palestinian has been found guilty by the Israeli authorities of beating himself up in the vicinity of Jewish settlers.
The Mercaz HaRav yeshiva is based on contempt for all Gentiles, not only Arabs. This yeshiva was founded by Rabbi A.Y. Kook, and later led by his son, T.Y. Kook. The manner in which young minds are shaped at this Yeshiva can be guessed from one of A.Y.'s spiritual pronouncements, that “The difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews – all of them in all different levels – is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.” Kook's classification of Palestinians as non-human allows the graduates of Mercaz HaRav to ignore those commandments that forbid stealing, murder and coveting.
“While God requires other normal nations to abide by abstract codes of justice and righteousness, such laws do not apply to Jews.”
Gush Emunim Rabbi, Shlomo Aviner
Since non-Jews are similar to another species in the Kooks’ world-view, the very notion of human rights governing the relations between Jews and others is naturally repugnant to his followers; human rights are definitely not on the syllabus at Mercaz HaRav. The Kooks’ primitive god is similar to that of their American Christian fundamentalist counterparts. Both groups of fundamentalists believe that the coming of the Messiah is imminent (they disagree on whether this is a first or a return visit; they also disagree on who should kill or rule over whom at that time) but they agree that the normal forms of human decency are no longer in force. For reasons that need not concern us here, the beginning of the messianic age allows the activation of the rule, as expressed by another unlovely Gush Emunim Rabbi, Shlomo Aviner, that “While God requires other normal nations to abide by abstract codes of justice and righteousness, such laws do not apply to Jews.”
Settlers have spray-painted "Gas the Arabs!" outside a local Palestinian's home
The suspension of ‘such laws’ extends to non-Jews’ right to live and breathe. Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh, another settler leader, asked pragmatically whether “If a Jew needs a liver, can he take the liver of an innocent non-Jew to save the Jew?” He replied in the affirmative, supporting an Israeli fundamentalist theology that should make anyone think twice before taking the kids on that beach holiday in Israel. Palestinians have to take Ginsburgh’s ideas seriously, though, for the learned Rabbi leads a heavily-armed gang of settlers, past graduates of the classrooms of yeshuv Mercaz HaRav.
Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh, leader of a heavily-armed gang of settlers, asked pragmatically whether “If a Jew needs a liver, can he take the liver of an innocent non-Jew to save the Jew?” He replied in the affirmative.
Ginsburgh also defended one particular massacre of Muslims, the killing of 29 Hebronites at prayer in the Al-Ibrahimi mosque, on the religious basis that a Jew is permitted to kill any non-Jew and not be deemed to commit murder. He added, in case anybody didn’t quite get the message, that killing even innocent Palestinians to exact revenge is ‘a Jewish virtue’. Another Mercaz HaRav graduate, Rabbi Dov Lior, in 2004, instructed his settler followers, parents of those killed in the yeshiva recently, that the Israeli occupation forces are allowed to kill innocent Palestinians. Mercaz HaRav alumni all sing from the same savage hymn sheet.
Mercaz HaRav graduates don’t just believe they can use your, or any passing Palestinian’s, liver. Gentiles can also be useful to science. The Israeli Attorney General was forced to intervene to bar Rabbi Lior’s election to Israel’s top religious body following concern over his public proposal to use captured Arab ‘terrorists’ to conduct medical experiments. (Gush Emunim considers all Palestinians to be 'terrorists'.) Lior is reputed to be the top student of Kook fils. Note that Lior had to be barred by adminstrative methods after he had secured enough votes from his supporters to secure a seat on Israel's Supreme Rabbinical Council.
The Israeli Attorney General was forced to intervene to bar Mercaz HaRav graduate Rabbi Lior’s election to Israel’s top religious body following concern over his public proposal to use captured Arab ‘terrorists’ to conduct medical experiments.
Lior recognised a kindred spirit in American-Israeli Baruch Goldstein, who murdered the 29 Palestinian worshippers (and wounded another 150) in the Hebron mosque. Lior eulogised the mass killer thus: “Goldstein was full of love for fellow human beings. He dedicated himself to helping others.”
The idea of using Arabs for medical experiments ought to be a clue to something bigger. Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, in Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, spell it out: “the similarities between the Jewish political messianic trend and German Nazism are glaring. The Gentiles are for the messianists what the Jews were for the Nazis.” If you think that stealing peoples organs is just your average settler yeshiva ghoulishness, Gush Emunim settlers’ idea of leisure time activities after yeshiva is out is to decorate Palestinian homes in Hebron with "Arabs to the gas chambers".
The Israeli settlements where Mercaz HaRav sends its graduates are centres of military power and domination of the Palestinians in the West Bank. Since secular Jews are no longer very much interested in building settlements in densely-populated Palestinian areas, where there is a risk of armed Palestinian opposition, only the religious fanatics are prepared to undertake this task. That is why they are so strongly supported by the army which is still mainly controlled by secular Zionists.
“When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle”
Rafael Eitan, past Army Chief and Deputy Prime Minister
The Gush Emunim settlers are highly militarised zealots who can be relied upon to fight in the army and to abuse and beat Palestinian ‘cattle’ at the hundreds of checkpoints they help to run across the West Bank and East Jerusalem. These zealots are increasing their influence throughout the Israeli military as the Labour Zionist-run core of the state is eaten away with corruption and failure to defeat the Palestinians or Hezbollah. Their settlements vote overwhelmingly for ultra-right parties, groups that the late Israeli philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz termed “Judeo-Nazis”.
Why did some Gazans celebrate the Mercaz HaRav attack? We might find an answer if we ask why the US refused to allow the UN Security Council to condemn the Jerusalem Yeshiva and the Gaza killings together. The US has a high limit on the number of Palestinian Arabs it allows Israel to kill, and the it doesn't object that some of the huge volume of US arms pumped into Israel find their way to settlers. These thugs combine their guns with creative methods to harm the farmers whose land they covet. When one man strikes back against the most genocidal settler group it is bound to bring a grim satisfaction to those crouching under Israeli-imposed siege in the Gaza Killing Zone. Bush, Brown, the EU, and the UN have delivered these Gazans to Israel’s tender mercies. They well remember the hideous settlers inside Gaza who treated them like 'cattle'.
Threats of rape spray painted on the wall of a Palestinian home - "Watch out Fatima - We will rape all Arab women!"
Alaa Abu Dheim killed eight students who were being trained to oppress and dispossess him, his family, his entire people. He was himself killed by an armed student.
Jerusalem, like Palestine as a whole, is saturated with armed Jews, uniformed soldiers and police as well as gun-toting settlers. Both groups cooperate to control the Palestinian population, who are kept unarmed in order that they can be dispossessed. This dispossession is achieved by a combination of the illegal occupation’s ‘legal’ means combined with the settlers’ violent extra-legal actions. Any armed Palestinian is killed on sight. Jerusalem, like all of Palestine, pits Jewish supremacism and military power against a colonised population, whose anger at their status and hostility towards their occupiers and violators is natural and healthy. Should they kiss the whip held over their heads? Palestinians continue to resist and we should be inspired by their courage, fortitude and endurance against an enemy that threatens them openly with a ‘Holocaust’.
Alaa Abu Dheim killed eight students who were being trained to oppress and dispossess him, his family, his entire people. He was himself killed by an armed student. Abu Dheim's sister, Iman, said he had been deeply affected by the Israeli massacres in Gaza. She said her brother had told her "he wasn't able to sleep because of the grief". Rafael Eitan, a past Army Chief and Deputy Prime Minister explained the rationale behind Israel's incessant brutality:the crushing of the Palestinians. “When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle”.
Israel’s brutality towards Palestinians is a means to the Zionists’ declared end, shared by dominant groups in both secular and religious camps, to dehumanise the ‘cattle’, the ‘cockroaches’. Israel was cleared for immigration in 1948 by terror, and is still to this day based on terror against the entire Palestinian people. Gideon Levy claims that “Most of the delusional right-wing perpetrators and the mongers of hate for Arabs came from this flagship,” but the atheists who founded the state of Israel were no slouches at using terror to drive out the natives, nor are their secular descendents. Mercaz HaRav graduates, however, take second place to none in the history of Israeli demonization and dispossession of Palestinians.
(Mick Napier is Chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, affiliated to PSC-UK. This article represents his personal views, not necessarily those of the Campaign)
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