Lapid Under Fire for Settler/Holocaust Comparison

"If a woman cursing in Hevron reminds Tommy of the Holocaust, he is not fit to head the Yad Vashem Council." So says MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union), in response to a recent article by Tommy Lapid.

Hillel Fendel , | updated: 12:52

Lapid, a Holocaust survivor known for his extreme anti-religious views, heads the Yad Vashem Council. After viewing a nationally-distributed video clip of a verbal altercation in Hevron between a Jewish and Arab woman, including curses, he wrote last week that "the behavior of the settlers in Hevron is reminiscent of the persecution suffered by the Jews in Europe on the eve of the Holocaust."

"The man who turned hatred into his source for political power," wrote MK Eldad, "was not reminded of Kristallnacht [when dozens of synagogues were burnt and nearly 100 Jews were killed throughout Germany in 1938] when he heard about last week's burning of a synagogue [in Yad Ya'ir, north of Ramallah]. Someone who makes a living off of hatred and causes a cheapening of the Holocaust, should find a different job."

Lapid's anti-religious Shinui Party was a highlight in the last two election campaigns: In 2003, just after he took over the party's leadership, Shinui soared from 6 to15 seats on an anti-religious platform - and in 2006, it lost all 15 of them following internal bickering and disunity.

At least one right-wing group, the Coalition to Save the People and the Land, has asked that Yad Vashem fire Lapid for his remarks. Yad Vashem spokesperson Estee Yaari said that Lapid's remarks were written by him personally and in no way reflect the position of Yad Vashem. She also noted that the position Lapid holds is a public advisory body that is not under the auspices of Yad Vashem; Prime Minister Olmert appointed him, and only the Prime Minister can replace him. The active chairman of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Center is Avner Shalev.

Speaking with Arutz-7's Uzi Baruch on Sunday, Lapid explained that he was careful not to compare the actions of the Jewish residents of Hevron to those of the Nazis during the Holocaust. Lapid said he merely meant to say that the Jewish behavior in Hevron reminded him of the anti-Semitic persecution suffered by the Jews of Yugoslavia shortly before the outbreak of World War II.

Asked why he does not view the altercation merely as a typical dispute between neighbors, Lapid said, "You and I know, and everyone knows, that that is not the case."

MK Eldad does not know that, however. "It cannot be that the head of the Yad Vashem [Council] would compare a small neighbors' dispute to the Nazi persecution of Jews," Eldad said. "He long ago proved, when he was in politics, his hatred for minority groups, and he should be fired immediately. Yad Vashem should condemn him for his words that sully the memory of the holy Holocaust victims."