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October 31, 2014 / 7 Heshvan, 5775
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Haredi Rabbi Warns Lapid Is a Target for Assassination

Incitement is not taken lightly in Israel since the murder of Rabin, and even warning of a murder can be dangerous.
Yair Lapid is the Haredi community's Public Enemy No. 1.

Yair Lapid is the Haredi community's Public Enemy No. 1.
Photo Credit: Puder PR

A rabbi-lawyer warned  on radio that an “important’ Torah scholar told him that Yair Lapid is in line to be the first politician to be assassinated since the murder of Yitzchak Rabin 18 years ago.

The host of the radio show in the national religious Galei Israel radio station immediately half-joked that the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) was on the way to arrest the guest, Dan Halberthal.

The program, by coincidence or not, is called “Don’t Gag the Mouth.” Since the assassination of Rabin, police from time to time have arrested people for suggesting that someone should be shot, although officials have conveniently ignored outright incitement from Arab and even one or two Jewish Knesset Members.

Halberthal defended his statement and said he feels an obligation to make a public warning as a matter of prevention. For the record, The Jewish Press, like Halberthal, is reporting what was said. Nothing more and nothing less.

The background to the rage in the Haredi community is the work of the “Shaked Committee” that has drawn up legislation for a universal draft that would put draft dodgers in jail if they don’t report for military duty.

The sounds of voices of extremism and for violence are becoming more commonly heard in the Haredi community, according to Halberthal.

“A guest of mine on Shabbat, who is an important figure in the world of yeshivas, told me – and I think there is a lot of truth to it – that “there is going to be a new Rabin assassination. Lapid is going to be killed by a Haredi.”

Shrugging off warnings about the Shin Bet, Halberthal, who also lectures on Jewish judicial law, continued, “When someone tells me something that I think is true, I listen.”

In a subsequent interview with Channel 2, Halberthal said, “Since the murder of Rabin, there has not been such a situation… as with Lapid. He is a marked man in the Haredi community.

“It is not exceptional to hear comparisons between Lapid, Amalek, Haman and Auschwitz when his name is mentioned. On Purim, there definitely will be costumes of Lapid as the modern Haman.

Therefore, it cannot be ruled out that some crazy nut will get up one day and decide to carry out the act [of assassination].” The Haredi street is entirely emotional now, and I feel I must issue a warning.”

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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