An American rabbinical group on Monday declared that it was placing a “pulsa dinura” (“lashes of fire”) curse on Arab MK Masoud Ganaim (Ra'am-Ta'al). The group, calling itself “the Great Pulsa Dinura Committee,” said that Ganaim deserved the curse because he refused to stand when Israel's national anthem, Hatikvah, was played at a recent event, and for ripping up in the Knesset a copy of a law to regulate Bedouin settlement of the Negev.
In a statement, the “Pulsa Dinura Committee” said that it had deliberated on Ganaim's actions, and had determined that it had no choice but to impose the curse. Once the curse is placed, the Committee said, there is no earthly power that can remove it. As a result of being cursed, the statement said, Ganaim can expect to suffer serious illnesses and injuries.
Beginning in August, the group said, Ganaim will contract a mysterious illness from which he will not recover, or, alternatively, fall from a high place and badly injure himself, or be the victim of a serious traffic accident. The only way to avoid this fate, the group said, was for Ganaim to leave Israel, and take 100,000 of his Arab supporters with him. The statement gave him 20 months to leave.
Ganaim told Channel Ten that he had been told by a representative of the group that they targeted him “because they said I incite against Israel, and because I refused to honor the state by standing for Hatikvah. Instead I left the Knesset plenum when the anthem was played. In the envelope that contained the letter there was another enclosure that included two seeds, apparently from melons. They said that this was a 'sign of death,'” Ganaim said.
Ganaim said he did not take the threat seriously, but that he has filed a complaint with police anyway. “These people are racists and fanatics. I have been threatened before, but not like this. In their letter they mentioned how Yitzchak Rabin was killed and Ariel Sharon was put into a coma because of a 'pulsa dinura.' But I am not afraid,” he said.
The “Pulsa Dinura” is the name of a ritual ceremony with supposed kabbalistic roots, which has been used on occasion in Israel to call for the downfall of prominent public figures. It is not even clear if it is a part of normative Judaism, and most rabbis dismiss it as a fiction.