Tiberias Mayor Ron Kobi accused members of the local haredi community of performing a "pagan ritual" designed to place a curse on him.
Last night, the mayor posted a video on Facebook showing haredi men surrounding the grave of his grandfather, the mayor Rabbi Machluf Kobi, claiming the worshipers had performed a "pagan ritual of pulsa d'nura".
"Pagan incitement in the pulsa d'nura style," Ron Kobi opened his Facebook post and continued: "The haredim of Tiberias, headed by a city councilman, in a strange ceremony of prayers and lamentations on the grave of my grandfather Chacham Makhluf Kobi."
"'What do they want?' you ask," said Kobi.
"They want Tiberias to return to being dark and black, closed and locked on Saturdays and holidays. The members of the Tiberias council simply go against the public!"
Later, the haredi worshipers explained they had gone to the grave of late Tiberias Mayor Ron Kobi, "who was a scholar and a righteous man", to pray that his grandson "repent".
The pulsa d'nura ("fire whip") is the name of a ritual ceremony with supposed kabbalistic roots, used on occasion in Israel to call for the downfall of prominent public figures.
Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok of Yeshivat B'nei N'viim wrote, "The pulsa d'nura has wrongfully been associated with a certain school of Kabbalah known as Kabbalah Ma’asit (magic). The pulsa d’nura is not a magical formula. Torah and Judaism have no connection to or tolerance of magic in any form.
"Therefore, considering anything in holy Kabbalah - an integral part of God's Torah from Sinai - to have any ties to magic is a spurious and offensive suggestion. The pulsa d’nura is actually not a ‘curse of death’ as many mistakenly believe. No Rabbi or Kabbalist has the right or authority to curse another to death."