Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu yesterday responded to a video by former ‘Amona settler Avihai Boaron, who praised Netanyahu for building ‘Amona land thieves a new settlement, by thanking him and promising to visit.
Part and parcel of the job of the most settler-friendly PM ever, you would think. Particularly one who is unusually sensitive to the idea of losing face with the “base.”
But Boaron isn’t your garden-variety settler leader. He has made genocidal statements. In 2011 Boaron attacked so-called moderate rabbis, who had opposed a “rabbis’ letter.” That letter was a call, signed by 300 rabbis, demanding Jews refrain from selling or renting houses or apartments to non-Jews. Boaron published his attack in the 117th volume of the Sabbath newszine Ma’ayanei Ha’yeshua, in January 2011– unsigned, but he did not deny writing it later – and claimed the moderate rabbis
“are clerks, who don’t want to rock the boat, who say ‘this isn’t the halacha [law], precisely,’ […] rabbis, in short, whose bread and water is political correctness […] One wonders whether they will leave the concentrating of ‘Amalekites in death camps to others, or will they rule that the wiping out of ‘Amalek is no longer relevant. Time will tell.” [My emphasis].
The ‘Amalekites are a mystical people, mentioned in the Bible and in the Talmud but not elsewhere, who are held in the Talmud to be the antithesis to Jews, a people dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish God and his people. Various nations were considered to be the modern ‘Amalek over the years. Germans became a prominent choice after the Holocaust, but before it the Romans were considered to have filled the bill, and for reasons beyond human ken, many rabbis thought the Armenians were ‘Amalekites. In contemporary Israeli Jewish parlance, however, ‘Amalekites is generally a code-word for Palestinians, who are seen as preventing the divine plan of rebuilding a temple in Jerusalem by their very presence. ‘Amalekites, of course, are destined for a genocide, hence the reference to death camps.
Boaron was editor of the newszine at the time, and in charge of editorials. The editorial caused some outrage back in 2011, and Boaron never denied or distanced itself from it. Then in 2015, a blogger named Rav Tzair (“a young rabbi”) exposed Boaron as the writer. At that time, the country was gearing up for elections, and I was surprised to find out Boaron was a candidate in the Jewish Home party, albeit in the unrealistic 19th slot. I rang up Boaron, and we had a stormy short conversation, in which I asked him to deny his writing of the article and he, refusing, shouted that I was “trying to destroy [Naftali] Bennett” and cut off the conversation. Bennett is the leader of the Jewish Home party.
As Boaron rose to prominence during the ‘Amona crisis–the evacuation last year of 42 families from an outpost ruled to be on Palestinian-owned land, which almost brought about the fall of the government– he met several times with Netanyahu and his senior aides. The Israeli media studiously ignored his 2011 article.
Yesterday Netanyahu shared a video message from Boaron, originally made on Boaron’s page, which said Netanyahu “promised and delivered” a new settlement to replace ‘Amona. Netanyahu wrote:
“Thanks to Avihai Boaron and all of the dear residents of ‘Amihai [name of the new settlement]. Of course we’d drop by and visit. Shabbat Shalom to all the people of Israel!”
Just as the writers of Torat HaM’elekh, the manual for gentile-killing, were not indicted a few years ago, so Boaron had no problem climbing up despite fantasizing publicly about a genocide and attacking rabbis who would shirk their duty and refuse to participate.
A Palestinian genocide is on the acceptable menu in Israeli thought. Just make sure you use the correct code-words, right? Don’t embarrass the hasbara people.