Rabbi Dov Lior, the chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba/Hebron, said Thursday that the abduction of Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shayer and Naftali Frenkel was God’s punishment for what he called “anti-religious” legislation pushed by the current Knesset, and for Israel’s stated willingness to abandon parts of Eretz Yisrael.
“Unfortunately, we are witnesses to a severe deterioration in the approach of the government to the Jewish image of the state,” wrote Lior. “There are aggressive laws whose common denominator is the erosion of the Jewish character of our public life, for example in the harm to the family unit, injury to the conversion process [as prescribed] by the Torah, and an attempt to harm the requirement that a convert accept and fulfill the Torah and the commandments.”
It is basic component of Judaism that nothing happens without a reason, particularly on a national level, though we may not know what that reason is. Divine reward and punishment on the national level are mentioned in the Shema prayer and repeated throughout the Torah.
It didn’t take long for the rabbi’s comments to arouse the ire of the Israeli left. Yuval Diskin, the retired head of the Shin Bet security service who is planning to run in the next Knesset election as part of a left-wing party, attacked the rabbi, facetiously asking why God arranged for religious boys to be kidnapped if God was angry with secular Israelis.
Diskin “analysis” also included name calling, branding Rav Lior as an “extremist” who has “provid(ed) philosophical cover for insane people,” as well as an unrelated comment about Lior’s criticism of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin during the early years of the Oslo “peace” process and also the rabbi’s approbation for the halachic treatise Torat Hamelech, which deals in part with the laws of killing non-Jews in certain situations during wartime.”
According to media reports, Diskin did not take the time to explain exactly what his criticism of Rabin had to do with the current abduction crisis (except, perhaps, that Rabin started the political movement that led to Palestinian quasi-indepedence, and directly from there to a spike in terror attacks against Israelis?).