Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak, the colorful but controversial religious figure known for his mass “conversions” of secular youth to hat and kippah-wearing believers, is at it again.
On Sunday, Yitzchak said that the recent wave of stabbing attacks against Jews by Arabs was an expression of divine wrath – over the lack of care in keeping kosher.
Quoted on the Haredi web site Kikar Shabbat, Yitzchak said that the first sin in history, as recorded in the Book of Genesis, was the consumption of the “forbidden fruit” by Adam and Eve. “Eating foods that are not permissible – not kosher – kills, and that has been what has been killing our people now.
“People have asked why these stabbings are happening now,” said Yitzchak. “I told them that it appears that the ritual slaughterers are using knives that are not properly prepared for kosher slaughter.”
According to Jewish law, ritual slaughterers of kosher meat are supposed to use large, very sharp knives to ensure that the incision they make immediately kills the animal, with no suffering on the animal's part. A knife that is less than perfectly sharp renders the animal treif, non-kosher for consumption. Yitzchak has for many years been critical of the kosher meat industry for failing, he says, to take enough care of the rituals involved in slaughtering kosher animals for meat.
“This will be a year of great decision and uncertainty for Israel,” Yitzchak added, “If we do not repent, we will certainly be subject to divine judgment. What kind of judgment? The judgment of the knives, with God putting knives on us because of the sin of the knives of the slaughterers. If we eat meat from knives that are not ritually fit, we are stabbed with knives that are fit for murder. Perhaps the Jews will wake up – but if not we will require another 'lesson,' perhaps a more serious lesson in terror – with buses and cars exploding,” he added.
Among Yitzchak's recent “stunts” was an anti-television demonstration outside the Israel Broadcasting Authority building near Jerusalem’s central bus station, in which 1,000 TV sets were thrown into a pile and smashed. Yitzchak ran for the Knesset in the recent elections, but failed to reach the vote threshold to receive a Knesset seat.
It should be noted that Yitzchak in considered controversial among not only lay Israelis, but among many rabbis as well. In 2013, former Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef slammed him for starting his own party, which Yosef felt would drain votes from Shas, the party he backed.
His evangelical style has won him some support among regular Israelis, but most serious rabbinical figures see him as an attention-seeker.