Rabbi Ronsky
Rabbi RonskyYoni Kempinski

The Ha'aretz newspaper has an anti-Judaism bias, and deliberately presents the Jewish religion in a bad light, Rabbi Avichai Ronsky has accused, speaking to Arutz Sheva. Rabbi Ronsky, the former Chief Rabbi of the IDF, criticized Ha'aretz following its publication of an article accusing IDF rabbis of racism.

While Rabbi Ronsky had harsh criticism for Ha'aretz, he also took rabbis to task for not being sufficiently cautious with their presentation of halakha (Jewish law).

A recent Ha'aretz article quoted a booklet on the subject of mezuzas in which rabbis allegedly said that non-Jews do not have equal rights in Israel under Torah law. The article also noted that rabbis said it is preferable for men, not women, to affix a mezuzah to each doorpost.

The quote relating to non-Jews was taken out of context, Rabbi Ronsky said. The quote was part of a discussion over whether military buildings in Israel are considered Jewish-owned, or held in joint ownership by both Jews and non-Jews, he said – a question that could affect the need to affix a mezuzah scroll to each doorpost.

IDF rabbis concluded that the buildings are considered Jewish-owned because non-Jewish citizens are not considered to be the primary owners under Jewish law.

“[Ha'aretz] wants to create ‘a state of all its citizens,’ and to prevent the state from being a Jewish state,” Rabbi Ronsky accused. “They use every means to achieve that end.”

However, while he defended the booklet as not having said what Ha'aretz implied it did, Rabbi Ronsky said the booklet should not have contained the offending passages. Rabbis must take caution with their phrasing, and avoid publishing material which could be seen as racist without careful explanation, he said.

“Just as it is a mitzvah to say things that people will listen to, so too it is a mitzvah not to say things that will not be listened to,” he cautioned.

Rabbi Ronsky was mentioned in the Ha'aretz report as the rabbi who brought in Rabbi Eyal Karim, who wrote the pamphlet in question. He noted that he, personally, has been criticized by Ha'aretz since before he served as chief IDF rabbi.

He was first condemned by the paper over an article on the halakhic issue of whether or not to treat a wounded terrorist on the Sabbath. While Rabbi Ronsky ultimately concluded that medical staff must help wounded terrorists even on the Sabbath, Ha'aretz quoted only the parts of the article in which he explained the opposing viewpoint, he said, giving the impression that he was against giving terrorists medical treatment on the Sabbath.

Rabbi Ronsky added that given his latest project – a group promoting the teaching of Jewish identity through the Education Ministry – he expects to be the target of further media criticism in the future.