Rav Elyakim Levanon
Rav Elyakim LevanonFile photo

Prominent religious-Zionist figure Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, head of the Elon Moreh Yeshiva, said Sunday night that the murderers of Mohammed Abu Khder should be given the death penalty – even if they turn out to be Jewish.

Unfortunately it appears that Jews were involved in this matter,” Rabbi Levanon said to students on Sunday night. “Jewish law has no mercy for the perpetrators of crimes like murder, whether of Arab or Jew, whether by Arab or Jew.”

While capital punishment exists under Jewish, law, it has not been customary for Jewish courts in Israel to sentence convicts to capital punishment, ever since the sentencing of Nazi extermination mastermind Adolf Eichmann in 1961. However, said Rabbi Levanon, “even during a period like ours when there is no authorized Court of Jewish Law to carry out capital punishments, it is possible for an average court to impose a death sentence when there is a crime that affects the public.

“In this case, it would be proper to impose the death penalty on the murders of Abu Khder,” Rabbi Levanon said.

“We will thus fulfill the precept of 'You shall remove the evil from your midst,' a Biblical command. Israel and its army and security services, are required to fight terror mercilessly, until it is removed from the world,” he added.

Earlier, Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi David Lau said that if anyone was to avenge the deaths of Israeli teens Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel, and Gilad Sha'ar, it would be G-d Himself. “Individuals do not have the right to take revenge for the death of the innocent. Revenge is not a license given to the hot-blooded for 'action.' Revenge is a strong, destructive weapon, and if there is such a concept in the world, it does not belong to humans,” he added.