Israelis burn a Palestinian flag and shout racist slogans, during an anti-Palestinian protest at the Gush Etzion junction in the occupied West Bank, 16 June. (Oren Ziv / APA images)
well-known Israeli settler rabbi recently called for Israel to “cleanse” the
territories it occupies of all Palestinians, according to the news website The
Times of Israel.
visit to Israeli settlers on 30 September in the occupied West Bank, Rabbi
Dov Lior said that Israel “must strive to cleanse the entire
country” of Palestinians, ostensibly referring to present-day Israel, the
occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza
is the chief rabbi for Israeli settlers in the West Bank city of Hebron
and in the Kiryat Arba settlement, was speaking at an event
at Givat Oz Vgaon, an “outpost” colony recently established in the Etzion bloc
of settlements in the central West Bank.
time it occupied the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) in 1967, Israel has
recognized 125 Jewish-only settlements that today harbor a population of an
estimated 550,000 Israeli Jews, according to the human rights group B’Tselem.
Vgaon is one of more than one hundred smaller colonies known as “outposts” that also dot the map of the territory.
Though outposts are considered illegal even under Israeli law, they are often
provided with state resources, including funding, and are protected by the
was no peace and there will never be peace, not because we do not want [peace],
but because there is no one to make peace with,” Lior said, as reported by The
Times of Israel.
even more racist and orientalist language, he added: “This is their character,
they are for war, and the traits of a nation do not change.”
said the Israeli government ought to force Palestinians to “return” to Saudi
Arabia, employing old Israeli tropes that claim Palestinians are not
indigenous to historic Palestine.
History of racism
“know how to lead a democratic government just like I know how to deal with
camels,” he further commented in his speech.
outbursts are part of Lior’s long history of racist and anti-Palestinian
Israel’s 51-day massacre of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip this summer, Lior
called for the complete destruction of the besieged coastal enclave, home to an
estimated 1.8 million Palestinians living under suffocating Israeli
“allowed to punish the enemy population with measures it finds suitable, such
as blocking supplies or electricity, as well as shelling the entire area
according to the army minister’s judgment, and not to needlessly endanger
soldiers but rather to take crushing deterring steps to exterminate the enemy,”
Lior said, as reported by The Jerusalem Post at the time.
case of Gaza, it would be permitted for the defense minister to even order the
destruction of all of Gaza,” he continued.
Israeli politicians subsequently called for an investigation into Lior’s
incitement, there is thus far no indication that any action has been taken. And
despite having been arrested by Israeli authorities in the past, the prominent
settler rabbi was not charged with any crimes and has been allowed to continue
October 2013, Ma’an News Agencyreported that Lior was one of the leaders of a
campaign to ban Jewish women from working night shifts in hospitals alongside
television report by Israel’s Channel 10, Ma’an reported that one of the groups
involved in the campaign was Lehava, a Zionist group dedicated to preventing
romantic relationships between Israeli Jews and Palestinians.
According to Gershom Gorenberg’s book The
End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount, Lior
“once wrote that Israel should use captured Arab terrorists as guinea pigs for
also reportedly the personal rabbi of Baruch Goldstein, an American-Israeli settler who
massacred 29 Palestinians and injured more than one hundred when he opened fire
on worshippers in a Hebron mosque in 1994.
said of Goldstein that he is “holier than all the martyrs of the Holocaust,” Ma’an
2011, Lior told a women’s health conference that it is forbidden for Jewish
women to accept semen donated by non-Jews in order to artificially inseminate
pregnancy. Doing so, he claimed, leads to children being born with the
“negative genetic traits that characterize non-Jews,” The Jerusalem Post reported at the time.
sperm leads to barbaric offspring,” he said.
calling for Israel to completely annex the occupied West Bank in September
2011, Lior referred to Arabs as “evil camel riders.”
is a leading member of the Tekumah political faction, a group that merged with
the Habeyit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party in late
Hayehudi is home to politicians including Naftali Bennett, Israel’s current economy
minister who also regularly calls for Israel to annex the occupied West Bank.
“I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there’s no problem with that,”
Bennett said in a July 2013 interview.
Ayelet Shaked, another prominent Habeyit Hayehudi lawmaker,
gained notoriety in July after she endorsed a genocidal call for Israel kill
Palestinian mothers because they give birth to “little snakes.”
Lior is just one of the many anti-Palestinian
figures who hold prominent public roles in Israeli communities and political
institutions. And this is by no means an exhaustive account of his