Shin Bet Director Avi Dichter told the Knesset’s foreign affairs and defense committees this week that clandestine right wing settler terror cells and Ayatollah-like right wing Rabbis are are on their old fundamentalist Fatwah trip again, and are reportedly targetting both the Prime Minister and the Al Aqsa mosque.

According to Ha’aretz, Israeli army radio reported that Rabbi Avigdor Neventzal – chief rabbi of Jerusalem’s old city – has said in a speech to High School students (!) that anyone who wants to cede the land of Israel falls under the Halachic category of “din rodef” who can be killed according to Jewish law. Ha’aretz quotes Neventzal as saying:

“It should be known that anyone who wants to give away Israeli land is like a rodef, and certainly land should not be given to idol worshipers”

The Jerusalem Post reports that MK Yuli Tamir (Labor) gave a radio interview, in which she criticized Neventzal for inciting to violence against Israeli leaders. “The next murder is on the way,” Tamir said according to the Cleveland Jewish News. Moments after her interview she received a call on her cell-phone from an unidentified individual who threatened to kill her.

Readers may recall that Yigal Amir, who murdered PM Yitzhak Rabin at a peace rally in 1995, testified at his trial that Halacha mandated the assassination.

“I know Jewish law and ‘Din Rodef’ means that if you’ve tried everything else and nothing works, then you have to kill him.”

The Toronto Star quotes Yossi Klein Halevi, an associate fellow at the Shalem Centre, a Jerusalem think tank as saying:

“I have no doubt the threat is very real. Anyone who has sat with the farther fringes of the settler movement knows this is not contrived”

[Editor’s Note] John’s perspective somewhat neglects to recognize that, it is not because religious people are evil, nor even right wingers, that this is such a troubling issue, but rather because these sorts of actions seem to be very inconsistent with the values of peace and justice which seem to be much more fundamental to Judaism. It is a question of theological interpretation more than of politics and madness, and I hope one which we can approach more rationally and delicately than we as a people seem to be doing at the moment.