Practicing rabbi and attorney Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Smith condemned the words of yeshiva head Rabbi Avraham Kirshenbaum, who opposed synagogues being allowed to remain open during the coronavirus outbreak, and called on police to "give ten times more beatings".
Rabbi Smith told Arutz Sheva: “In response to the terrible reports of Rabbi Kirschenbaum from Haifa calling on the Israeli police to brutally beat, ten times harder, those Jewish people who have the dedication and commitment to Judaism that we've had for thousands of years to continue yeshivas and Torah learning and synagogues, even in the face of the terrible public health decrees, is an indication of the depth of depravity of the public health religion that makes a war against all of humanity, which Rabbi Kirschenbaum is now a spokesman for.
“And it is a terrifying wake-up call to everybody of what the public health authorities are willing to do and what their supporters are willing to do - to beat people who want to continue an increase in a life of Torah and of life of humanity."
Rabbi Smith continued: “And he also emboldens, G-d forbid, non-Jewish countries and non-Jewish police forces to also beat their people in their countries who don't comply - to beat them because now Rrabbi Kirschenbaum claims to be speaking in the name of the Torah. Everything that he's saying should be ignored and deleted and it must be condemned in all terms as being against Torah and against all humanity.”
Haifa-area yeshiva head Rabbi Avraham Kirshenbaum publicly accused religious Jews violating government directives of giving fellow Jews a bad name. Kirshenbaum also called on police to intensify physical beatings to force guideline compliance.
"Police beating up those violating the law should do so ten times harder. From this pulpit, I urge Israeli police to give ten times more beatings," he said during a meeting with coronavirus patients at the Hebron Yeshiva. A recording of the speech was posted on Kikkar Hashabbat website.
"If you want Torah scholars to be your example in life how do you go about choosing which ones to listen to? Whom do newspapers refer to as great rabbis and which ones really are? In light of recent events, everyone in this room knows which religious leaders are the real thing and which are putting on a show. I'm not afraid to say any of this."
Kirshenbaum denied claims that new sanctions were damaging the religious way of life and that all means were justified to continue worship and Torah learning. "This has nothing to do with Jewish Law. This isn't the case. It's pure stupidity," he was quoted saying.
"The Torah teaches that he who does not safeguard his life is deserving of the death penalty. I don't like to criticize other Jews but if someone dies while desecrating G-d's name, they cannot be atoned for."