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State Dragging Heels Over Prosecuting West Bank Rabbi for Incitement to Violence

Prosecution asks High Court for further extension before deciding whether to indict far-right Rabbi Yosef Elitzur of Yitzhar.

The state has asked the High Court of Justice for another extension in filing its position on whether or not to indict Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, who teaches at the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, for incitement to violence against Palestinians and certain Israelis.
A High Court petition, filed about a year ago by the Reform Movement’s Israel Religious Action Center and the Tag Meir organization, specifically demanded Elitzur’s indictment over an article titled “Mutual responsibility” that was published in 2009.
In the article Elitzur wrote, “If Arabs are winning because of violence against Jews, then Jews, too, will win through violence against Arabs ... We can exploit the power of women, children and the elderly to block a certain road, and during this time enable harsher action against hostile parties further down that road.”
He also called for harassing Shai Nitzan, today the state prosecutor, who at that time was the prosecution’s point man for law enforcement in the West Bank. “His peaceful life must be disrupted,” Elitzur wrote. “His picture should be disseminated under the headline ‘Jew hater,’ and his neighbors should know what a devil lives in their neighborhood.”
Finally, he recommended raiding the offices of the army’s Civil Administration in the West Bank and causing “damage and destruction.”
The court has yet to rule on the request for the extension, which was filed at the very last minute, on October 1. The prosecution asked to be allowed to file its response by the middle of November, because of the Jewish holiday period. The state has already received a number of extensions in the past for filing its response.
Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit is personally involved in making the decision whether to indict Elitzur for incitement, the prosecution told the court. Mendelblit held a meeting on the question on September 28 and at the end of the meeting instructed the state prosecutor’s office to conduct “a number of additional clarifications as soon as possible.” The attorney general asked prosecutors to ask the court for the extension at that same meeting in order to present the results of these clarification to the court, said the state in its request.
The state also related to the long time it has taken to formulate its position on charging Elitzur. “The respondents are aware of the time that has passed since the publication of the article that is the subject of the petition,” states the request. “But in light of the additional publications from 2013 and also from the month of December 2015, the respondents thought is would be improper to make a decision concerning only the publication of an article from 2009.”
In late August, the state prosecutor’s office submitted its response to the High Court petition demanding that Elitzur stand trial for incitement. It told the court it would give Mendelblit its recommendation on whether to file charges in another week, and that Mendelblit was expected to deal with the issue “during the month of September.”
The state has said in the past that it is considering charges of both incitement to racism and incitement to violence, based on several articles Elitzur published between 2009 and 2015.
In May, police questioned him under caution – meaning as someone who might be charged with a crime – about an article he had published the previous December on the website Hakol Hayehudi. The article dealt with the investigation into an arson attack that killed three members of the Palestinian Dawabsheh family in the West Bank village of Duma in July 2015.
“I hope they don’t catch the people who carried out the action in Duma,” Elitzur wrote. “I hope this because the pursuers and persecutors aren’t honest people who truly want to fix reality.”
He also referred to the Shin Bet security service’s Jewish Department, which focuses on Jewish terror, by the name given the Jewish department of the Soviet Union’s secret police.
In the past, Elitzur won notoriety as coauthor of “The King’s Torah,” a book that discussed if and under what circumstances Jewish law permits the killing of a non-Jew, and took a permissive approach to the question under specific circumstances.

Yotam Berger

Haaretz Correspondent

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.745922Schermata 2016 10 05 alle 22.34.09

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Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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