Rabbi Noam Perel, the secretary-general of World Bnei Akiva, has apologized for a Facebook post in which he called for revenge for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens, Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Sha'ar and Eyal Yifrah.
"An entire nation and thousands of years of history demand revenge," Perel posted on his Facebook page, shortly after the bodies were found last week. "The government of Israel is gathering for a revenge meeting that isn't a grief meeting. The landlord has gone mad at the sight of his sons' bodies. A government that turns the army of searchers to an army of avengers, an army that will not stop at 300 Philistine foreskins," Perel wrote, alluding to the biblical tale of David, who killed 200 Philistines and gave their foreskins to King Saul as the bride price for his daughter. "The disgrace will be paid for with the blood of the enemy, not with our tears," he concluded.
The post provoked a firestorm of criticism and even some demands for Perel's resignation.
"I am strongly opposed to any notion of revenge, and to any violent reaction by citizens against any person on earth," he wrote Sunday.
"The misleading and irresponsible post that I wrote was a result of the finding of the bodies of pure, young boys, slaughtered by evil people, including the son of my close friend Bat-Galim, Gilad Sha’ar z’l.
"The call for the Israeli government to look after the lives of our children must not be confused in any way with any suggestion of revenge, words which should not be used by any person, and certainly not educators and leaders. I cannot express to you how badly this error has caused me to feel, and especially its unintended consequences.
"I deeply apologize before each and every one of you that in my haste, I placed all of you in the midst of a crisis, affecting your feelings, values, communities and possibly even security. For this, I ask for your forgiveness.
"In order to discuss this issue and to clarify the movement’s educational direction, which is a movement that calls for tolerance in every aspect of life, an emergency meeting of World Mazkirut Murchevet will be convened. We will also be calling for the leaders of our partner movements worldwide to join in order that they play a full role in the decision making process.
"This meeting will deal with finding a way to fix what was broken and the errors that my words have caused. I have full faith in the leadership of World Bnei Akiva, both here and overseas to come to the right conclusion on this matter, for the best of our movement."