West Bank – Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger on Monday visited the West Bank village of Yasuf, where days earlier a mosque was torched allegedly at the hand of settlers angry over the 10-month construction freeze.
“I came here to expression my revulsion at this wretched act of burning a place holy to the Muslim people,” Metzger told the residents after he was escorted into the village under the protection of the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian police. “This is how the Holocaust began, the tragedy of the Jewish people of Europe.”
On their way out of the village, the rabbi and his escorts were pelted by rocks from protesters. The troops fired two shots in the air and a tear gas grenade.
Security officials, meanwhile, say they fear that the torching of the mosque near Nablus on Friday could lead to reprisal attacks by Palestinians on Jews. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered Israel’s security services to find the people behind the arson, which Jewish extremists are suspected of perpetrating.