Israel – One of the leading national-religious figures in the national-religious community Rabbi Shlomo Aviner called on Sunday for the imposition of the death penalty for Palestinians involved in terror activity as a way of preventing future kidnappings and other terrorist attacks.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Aviner, who heads the Ateret Yerushalayim yeshiva in the Old City of Jerusalem and is the rabbi of the Beit El settlement, said that the solution to the issue of kidnappings could not simply be particularistic, but must address root causes.
“Terrorists need to know that it is not worthwhile to participate in terrorist activities and that if he does so he will pay dearly, that he and all those involved in the crime will pay dearly,” said the rabbi, who is part of the conservative wing of the national religious movement.
Citing the medieval rabbi and codifier Maimonides, Aviner said that harsher measures of dissuasion should be used to deter terrorists.
“Bowing down to terror only brings more terror… The death penalty should be used as a way of dissuading terrorism. At the moment, terrorists who are caught sit in jail, eat good food, study for university degrees and then are released and hailed as national heroes,” the rabbi said.
Aviner also echoed a call made earlier on Sunday by another senior national-religious figure Rabbi Haim Druckman for people to stop hitch hiking.
Hitchhiking is widely used around the settlements of Judea and Samaria as an alternative to public transport and the issue of whether or not to halt the practice has become sensitive, with some settlers viewing such a reaction as a capitulation to terrorism.
Aviner said people should only hitch hike if know the driver or are 100 percent certain that it is safe.
Speaking earlier to Galei Yisrael Radio, Rabbi Druckman, also called for people not to hitchhike because of the danger of kidnapping.
“We must avoid hitchhiking,” Druckman said on Galei Yisrael radio Sunday afternoon. “We live in a certain reality, it didn’t begin today, but we need to overcome it and do everything not to enter into danger as much as we can.”
The rabbi insisted he was not in any way blaming the three kidnapped boys for their abduction, but said that “in the reality we live in, and the difficulties we have we need to be careful.
In addition to the prayer rally at the Western Wall on Sunday evening, two national-religious rabbinical associations, Tzohar and Beit Hillel, issued a joint statement on Sunday calling on religious and secular people alike to attend a prayer rally in Givat Shmuel, close to Tel Aviv.
Chief Rabbi David Lau was expected to attend, along with Tzohar Chairman Rabbi David Stav, Beit Hillel Chairman Meir Nehorai, and other rabbinical leaders.
Tzohar also issued a map detailing the times and places of prayer rallies around the country scheduled for Sunday night and Monday.
On Saturday night, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, another leading figure in the conservative wing of the national religious movement and the chief rabbi of Safed, described the kidnappings as an attempt to hurt the Jewish People as a whole and said that the Palestinians wanted to wipe out the Jewish people.
“This is why we all feel as one… everyone is hear as one person with one heart… they want to throw all of us into the sea, as they say explicitly from time to time,” Eliyahu told the media Saturday night after a prayer rally at the Western Wall.
The rabbi prayed that the biblical verses ascribed to King David when he chased and defeated his enemies be fulfilled for the current circumstances, saying that “this verse should be fulfilled for us in our generation and that the soldiers of the IDF should chase them, and smite them and not leave a remnant of them.”
Writing on his Facebook page on Saturday night, Deputy Minister for Religious Services Eli Ben-Dahan called for the “harshest possible measures” to be taken against the Palestinian Authority in response to the kidnapping, and called on the public to pray for the three boys.
Content is provided courtesy of the Jerusalem Post