"Last month, Dov Lior, the chief rabbi of the West Bank Settlement of Hebron, was placed under detention by the attorney general and questioned for a commendatory preface he had written to a book of ‘Jewish Law’ in which the author advocates the killing of Arab civilians in time of war, even the ‘righteous’ among them. More alarmingly, the book claims that when Arab children are being raised with the aim of harming Jews, it is ‘for their own good’ to kill them to prevent them from growing up to be ‘evil adults.’
Though many in Lior’s community disavow both the commendation of the book and its teachings, others, including the Samaria and Binyamin Settler Committee, called the action of the attorney general a ‘State of War against the Jewish faith.’
No matter how repugnant his views, Lior’s right to express them should be defended – not because representative of the Jewish tradition (to the contrary, they are a perversion), but because of free-speech. True, Lior’s role as a ‘religious leader’ – his release from detention was followed by the ecstatic celebration of his supporters – make him and his followers prime candidates for police scrutiny. But the book should not be banned, and the failure of a spirited defense of Lior’s hate speech shows the weakness of Israeli democracy.
What the writer above seems not to know is that one of the oldest blood libels against Jews is that they slaughter non-Jewish children as part of Jewish religious rituals. So the restraint on the bloodthirsty rabbi is a matter of national security for Israel. Giving any countenance to his utterances would increase the dangers to Jews everywhere.