Lehava director Bentzi Gopshtain
Lehava director Bentzi Gopshtain Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The way to deal with right-wing activists like Bentzi Gopshtain, according to radical leftist Nissan Schorr, is to attack him with a baseball bat. In fact, doing so is “my dream,” he wrote in left-wing paper Haaretz Wednesday.

“I would set up a militia and go out into the street with whiskey bottles and baseball bats, and look for Bentzi Gopshtain and his friends in the Lehava group, in order to release my anger on them,” he said.

Even for Gopshtain, who is no stranger to harangues in the leftist press, Schorr's screed was too much – and as a result, he has filed a complaint with police over the piece, which he said incited violence against him.

Gopshtain, the chairman of anti-assimilation group Lehava, was summoned for questioning on Tuesday by the Judea-Samaria District Police, about his alleged comments regarding church arson. The summons comes following a complaint submitted by the Catholic Church in Israel on behalf of the Vatican, which accused Gopshtain of "incitement to violence," for claiming it is permitted to burn churches under Jewish law.

The Vatican's call to arrest Gopshtain focuses on statements made when he took part in a panel debating Jewish law earlier this month, during which he said he supported burning churches, in an answer he claimed was based on a ruling by the famed 12th century CE Jewish scholar Rambam (Maimonides).

Explaining his comments, Gopshtain said afterwards, "the law is straightforward: Rambam's interpretation is that one must burn idolatry. There’s not a single rabbi that would deliberate that fact. I expect the government of Israel to carry that out."

For Schorr, that explanation was apparently insufficient. “After we finish taking care of Gopshtain and his friends, we will go after the rest of 'the gang,' especially the grandson of Meir Kahane, Meir Ettinger,” who was detained last week by police.

Filing the complaint, Gopshtain said that “if I had written such things about Arabs or leftists I would have been arrested on the spot. But the left can incite and call to violence all it wants. I urge the Attorney General to investigate this and shut down Haaretz for its radical incitement.”

Itamar Ben-Gvir, Gopshtain's attorney, said that “there is no doubt that this incitement breaks all records. The time has come for the justice system to use the power it usually uses against the right on people like Schorr and others on the left.”

Arutz Sheva sought a response from Haaretz, but the paper has not commented yet.

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