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Tuesday, July 26, 2005


I'm not that clear on something. This article in the JPost talks about the AG of Israel, Menachem Mazuz, and his interest in starting the process for a diciplinary hearing on Rabbi Meir Druckman, the Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Motzkin.
Much of the controversy surrounds Druckman's statement that the prime minister has declared war against God and the Torah and his call for a "death curse" to be put on Sharon.
Druckman also has advocated the blocking of roads and said "We will do all we can to stop the evacuation and the destruction. We will be the first to go to jail with heads held high and the true joy of doing a mitzvah."
I'm not really sure why this would constitute incitement. Though I think that it is an abuse of a Chief Rabbi's position to be calling for any violence at all, the fact that they are calling on a higher power for the violence, as opposed to human beings, would seem to me to be more mumbo-jumbo than incitement. And his calling for the blocking of roads and attempts to stop the disengagement would seem to be within his right to free speech. In addition, the story directly below this one in the JPost is about a similar attempt to put a pulsa denura - Aramaic for 'lashes of fire' - death curse on Ariel Sharon by a group of anti-disengagement activists, but this article reads:
Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz has decided in the past not to launch criminal investigations into rabbis who have instigated the death curse.
Mazuz's decision was based on a previous court ruling in the matter of Avigdor Askin, in which it was decided that the pulsa denura curse ceremony does not constitute a criminal offense.
Now, I would prefer that no one puts any "curses" on Ariel Sharon, but I can't see why one group would get a free pass here while the other would get prosecuted. Any ideas? And do you guys disagree with my assessment on whether a pulsa denura constitutes incitement?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that a Rabbi has no place wishing Sharon dead. But I don't understand the difference between the two cases either. And it would seem to be covered under free speech.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that the two cases should be treated alike and should be covered by freedom of speech (does Israel have an equivalent to the 1st amendment?). I worry, though, that this rabbi's followers might decide to hurry the death curse along and take matters into their own hands. This past Shabbat, my rabbi mentioned that Yigdal Amir, murderer of Yitzhak Rabin, viewed himself as a "Pinchas" figure. In placing a death curse on someone, are these rabbis making it clear to their followers that HaShem is the only one authorized to do the killing?

12:19 PM  
Blogger BBJ said...

I don't know Israeli law, but morally, I think it is incitement. In the YNet article on this there was a reference to this group also having cursed Rabin. They say that they're taking this approach since Sharon has too much security to try doing it 'by hand' so to speak. By saying these things, I think they are making it clear they believe an assassination would be morally fine. I assume an assassination would also be seen as a fulfillment of the curse.

Free speech? I don't know. If someone says "God should strike Sharon dead for what he has done," that's both free speech and free prayer, I think it is obviously protected. These guys seem to have moved on from "We wish God would kill him." What they actually seem to be doing is placing a curse on Sharon so that he will die, which would be attempted murder, except that I don't think Israeli law recognizes magical attacks as felonies.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

I don't see a problem at all with this.

If you believe its "real" -- then they asked G-d to do the deed. If G-d is so swayed by this curse, that it becomes Divine Providence, then Mazuz is way out of his league.

If you believe it to be a bunch of baloney - and they specifically said it should be G-d given, and not by any assasin, so why is it incitement? Who are they inciting? The netherworld? The demons?

Last night after maariv - a bunch of people asked me what I thought. I told them a great start up company would be pulsadenura.com where you could just click on any member of Knesset from a drop down list, press a button, and poof - its on its way. Of course, there would be a a "Are you Sure" warning dialog box, to remind you that you may be prosecuted if you clikc YES, for incitement, treason, and offending the Sharon family.

4:50 AM  
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