By Robert Tait, Jerusalem – 12:46PM BST 06 Aug 2015
The leader of a far-Right Israeli group has risked arrest by apparently voicing support for arson attacks on Christian churches amid an official crackdown on Jewish extremism.
Benzi Gopstein, the outspoken head of Lehava – which has drawn notoriety for its violent assaults on Jewish-Arab assimilation – made the remarks at a panel discussion for Jewish yeshiva students when asked by a fellow panelist if he believed burning down churches in Israel was justified.
He later tried to evade accusations of inciting his followers to fire-raise, saying it was the government’s responsibility to carry out what he presented as a religious teaching of the 12th century Jewish philosopher, Maimonides.
“Did the Rambam [Maimonides] rule to destroy [idol worship] or not? Idol worship must be destroyed. It’s simply yes – what’s the question?” Mr Gopstein told the panel.
Follow-up article: Israeli government should remove Christian churches
Website comment: Justified Arson is Criminal Arson and maybe, just maybe, a sin against God? This would be a bad sign for Israel to head this direction.