Israeli officials – including the prime minister, president and chief rabbis – were quick to condemn Monday’s suspected arson of a mosque in the Bedouin village of Tuba Zangriya, although Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar hedged his words by raising the possibility that the arson was a planted "blood libel."
MKs Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) and Rabbi Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism) told Arutz Sheva that they are against ‘price tag’ operations, although they remain unsure if that was the source of the alleged arson, but spoke out against the hypocrisy of public officials who denounce attacks against Arabs but do not do the same when Jews are targeted.
“I could not join the chorus of those who condemn because it’s hypocrisy,” Ben-Ari said. “We’re in a period in which Jews are hurt time and time again and I don’t hear the Prime Minister or [Knesset Speaker] Rivlin, and not even the few rabbis who condemned the attack in Tuba Zangriya.”
He added, “When the baby Yonatan Palmer and his father Asher Palmer were murdered in cold blood everyone was silent. When Jews are hurt everyone is silent. When Arabs are hurt, everyone shouts. Therefore I refuse to join this ugly and hypocritical chorus.
Ben-Ari stressed that the fact that he won’t condemn the arson “doesn’t mean that I’m in favor of such acts. No way. It’s unacceptable, it’s inappropriate. These are acts of bitter people.”
MK Rabbi Eichler also acknowledged the great danger to Israel’s image around the world when mosques are targeted, but said he was angered by the hypocrisy of Israel’s leaders and the Israeli media in general.
“Only three weeks ago a synagogue in the Ramot neighborhood in Jerusalem was torched,” he said. “Even the religious media barely mentioned it. I responded to this severe matter here in the Knesset and I asked where is everyone who yelled against price tag operations when a mosque is targeted. All of a sudden, they’re guarding freedom of religion.”
“It shouldn’t be understood from what I am saying that I am making light of the seriousness of targeting mosques,” added Eichler, “but where are all these people when synagogues are targeted? It’s a well-known fact that each religious and hareidi person is opposed to hurting mosques. Why do we have to go apologize for it as if we’re guilty while others don’t take any blame for things done by members of their nation or community?”