Religious Zionist rabbi compares far-right Israeli party to Nazis

Rabbi Benny Lau vows to “go to war” against the inclusion of Otzma Yehudit in the Knesset.

By World Israel News staff

Rabbi Benny Lau, viewed as a leading voice in the religious Zionism sector, is vowing to “go to war” to prevent the Otzma Yehudit party from winning seats in the April Knesset election. At the urging of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Jewish Home party agreed to include members of Otzma Yehudit on its list running in the parliamentary ballot.

An uproar ensued because the latter party includes followers of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane.

In his Saturday morning sermon at Ramban Synagogue in Jerusalem, Lau expressed outrage that Kahane followers Michael Ben-Ari and Itamar Ben-Gvir were given slots on the Jewish Home list, citing Kahane’s anti-Arab agenda.

He urged his congregants to research the Nazi Nuremberg laws and compare them to the bills advanced by Kahane when he was an MK from 1984 to 1988. The rabbi equated Kahanism with Nazism and warned that mistreating minorities goes against the Torah.

“A vote for Jewish Home is a vote for the racism of Kahane,” Lau said.

Benny Lau is a nephew of Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, a Holocaust survivor, who serves as council chairman of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center, in addition to his position currently as chief rabbi of Tel Aviv and formerly as chief rabbi of Israel.

In reaction to the younger Lau’s sermon, Otzma Yehudit said it would file a NIS 100,000 lawsuit against him for slander.

In a letter sent to the rabbi on Sunday morning, Ben-Gvir demanded an apology.

“Your words were clear slander and gravely insulting,” Ben-Gvir wrote. “You crossed a red line by comparing Jews to Nazis – Jews who are loyal to the State of Israel, the Land of Israel and the people of Israel. The Nazis murdered six million Jews in the Holocaust and tried to destroy the entire Jewish population of the world, just for being Jews, due to their racism,” he added.

Ben-Ari, who has already served as an MK from 2009 to 2013, said: “I don’t intend to fight with him. He is not my enemy. I have other enemies.”.