Israeli settler activist Elisha Yered, who is suspected of involvement in the killing of Palestinian teen Qosai Mi’tan, made the comment amid a rise in incidents of Jews spitting on or near Christian worshippers in Jerusalem’s Old City
reposted from Ha’aretz, October 3, 2023
Israeli settler Elisha Yered, who is suspected of involvement in the killing of Palestinian teen Qosai Mi’tan, wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday that spitting at Christians is “an ancient Jewish custom.”
The comment comes amid several incidents of Jews spitting on or near Christian worshippers in Jerusalem’s Old City , which were filmed on Sunday and Monday. This gives more evidence to the fact that these attacks have become widespread.
Tens of thousands of Jews joined in events and prayers for the Sukkot holiday in recent days, during which many of the spitting incidents were recorded. Most of the individuals filmed in the act were Jewish youths who spat on church buildings or at Christian worshipers they encountered.
Yered’s post says that “It’s a good time to mention that spitting near priests or churches is an ancient Jewish custom, and there’s even a special blessing in Jewish law that should be recited when you see a church,” which praises God for turning a blind eye to transgressors.
He goes on to say that “Perhaps under the influence of Western culture we have somewhat forgotten what Christianity is, but I think the millions of Jews who suffered in exile from the Crusades, the torture of the [Spanish] Inquisition, blood libels and mass pogroms – will never forget.”
Tourism Minister Haim Katz said that “Saying that spitting on Christians is an ancient and even acceptable custom is horrible. The actions of a handful of extremists make people hate Judaism, damage Israel’s image and affects tourism.”
Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel David Lau also condemned the attacks on religious leaders: “we will continue to pray for … and respect all the nations that come to honor the Holy City of Jerusalem. … These immoral phenomena have certainly nothing to do with Jewish law.”
Religious Services Minister Michael Malkieli said he “Strongly condemns the phenomenon of spitting at Christians in Jerusalem. This is not the way of the Torah, and there is not a single rabbi who supports and legitimizes such despicable behavior. It is our duty to condemn and continue to respect all peoples who come to the gates of the Holy City.”
Yered is suspected of involvement in the killing of Palestinian teen Qosai Mi’tan in the West Bank village of Burqa in August. Burqa residents claimed that a group of settlers, some armed, arrived in the village and started vandalizing property and throwing stones. During the clashes that ensued, some of the settlers opened fire, wounding four Palestinians and killing Mi’tan.
He was initially suspected of causing death either on purpose or by negligence, and was released due to issues in the investigation, including the Palestinian Authority refusing to hand over Mi’tan’s body for forensic testing.
Yered previously served as the spokesman for far-right lawmaker Limor Son Har-Melech and has been tracked by Shin Bet’s department for Jewish extremism since he was a minor. He lives in the Ramat Migron outpost and is one of the most prominent far-right activists today, operating a Twitter account and communicating with media outlets.
Last week, chief of the Israeli army’s Central Command, Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fuchs, ordered Yered to be barred from the West Bank for a period of five months and prohibited him from contacting five known settler activists.
The order specifies that Yered will not be allowed to contact several other prominent figures in the outposts for three months, including Menachem Ben Shachar, a rabbi who is active in West Bank outposts and also participated in the controversial video “Questions and Answers: Why Must Hawara Be Erased?” and Ariel Danino, an activist from the Kumi Uri hilltop outpost.
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