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Former IDF Chief Rabbi Calls Yitzhar Extremists 'Anti-Zionists'

Rabbi Ronski, former IDF Chief Rabbi, urges state to stop extremists in Yitzhar, stresses majority of the community against violence.
By Benny Toker
First Publish: 4/8/2014, 12:47 PM

Buildings demolished in Yitzhar
Buildings demolished in Yitzhar
Yitzhar community spokesperson's office

Rabbi Avihai Ronski, former IDF Chief Rabbi, has called on security forces to act against "extremist groups" in Yitzhar - which, according to him, do not believe in the State of Israel. 

"What can we say, there's a big mistake here, both ideologically and practically, in the mindset of a group of residents in Yitzhar," Rabbi Ronski stated to Arutz Sheva Tuesday. "Most of the community does not share this ideology." 

He noted that the clashes which erupted between security forces and extremists have damaged the community's reputation.

"The actions of a handful turn all of Yitzhar into one group, so to speak, when in fact the opposite is true," he said. "Within Yitzhar itself, community leaders oppose violence, and work diligently to stop it." 

While Ronski condemned the violence, he also did not dismiss the outrage generated by the IDF's demolishing homes in the community - and letting the Palestinian Authority (PA) continue building illegally throughout Judea and Samaria.

"You have to fight the most determined legal and political battle here," he noted. "Every political official in Israel is calling to destroy more homes with equal determination. We cannot have a situation where, in years to come, it will be impossible to get new building permits [in the region]." 

"You see, all around you, the massive construction in all Arab villages - where Arab murderers are coming from - and where hundreds of homes are growing in front of us like mushrooms," he continued. "This is part of a policy of double-standards." 

Extremists are 'Anti-Zionist'

Rabbi Ronski believes that dialogue is not the answer; the extremist groups are too anti-Zionist. "This is a group with anti-Zionist ideology," he said. "It doesn't matter whether or not homes are being destroyed. To them, Israel is a country of infidels." 

The Rabbi also said that he spoke personally with Colonel Yoav Yarom, whose tires were slashed Sunday in the incident which precipitated the dramatic clashes. 

"I talked to the brigade commander whose tires were slashed, he came to have coffee with one of the financial backers of the community and that's when his tires were slashed," he said. "The community leaders apologized to him and helped him fix the tires."

"He told me that there were people outside, screaming 'You are Zionist - go away from here!'" he continued.

"There are people here, like the hareidi community, who are not Zionist. They do not believe in the establishment of the State of Israel or in the teachings of Rav Kook," he said, referring to former Chief Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Kook, who is considered one of the founders of modern religious-Zionism.

"I am convinced," Rabbi Ronski concluded, "that the leaders of Yitzhar, and most of the rabbis, very strongly oppose these people. In this situation, we must remember that if we are a country which values life, we need to nip this in the bud." 

"I'm not talking here about the 'thought police' to prevent this group from thinking, talking, or writing [about their beliefs]," he added. "But once they are taking action against the State it must be stopped."