The secretary general of the World B’nei Akiva movement is under pressure to resign after he called for the murder of three Israeli teens to be avenged with blood.
Rabbi Noam Perel made the call in a Facebook post on Monday, hours after the bodies of three Israeli teens were discovered in a field north of Hebron, 18 days after their abduction by people whom Israel said were terrorists belonging to Hamas.
“The travesty will be atoned for with the enemy’s blood, not with our tears,” Perel wrote. “A whole nation and thousands of years of history demands revenge. The government of Israel is convened for a meeting of vengeance that is not a mourning sitting. Leaders have gone crazy at the sight of the bodies of our sons, a government that would make the army of searchers into an army of avengers.”
Perel also suggested that Israel should heed the lesson of the Bible when it comes to taking revenge on enemies.
“A government that turns the army of searchers to an army of avengers, an army that will not stop at 300 Philistine foreskins,” Perel wrote, alluding to the biblical tale of David, who killed 200 Philistines and gave their foreskins to King Saul as the bride price for his daughter.
Perel later deleted the post and on Thursday issued an apology.
Perel, 44, has been the secretary-general of World Bnei Akiva since 2012. A Zionist-religious youth movement, World Bnei Akiva has over 150 branches in dozens of countries worldwide. According to the movement’s website, it is dedicated to fighting “intermarriage and social assimilation” by encouraging immigration to Israel, by “deepening Jewish identity” and by “strengthening and connecting the Jewish nation abroad to the values of religious-Zionism and the state of Israel.”
In an open letter sent Thursday to World Zionist Organization and Jewish National Fund officials and to other leaders of Scandinavian Jewish communities, Ervin Kohn, president of the Jewish Community in Oslo, demanded that Perel be dismissed.
While the killings invoke “all kinds of feelings rage in each and every one,” Kohn wrote, Perel’s message “goes against everything we believe in and the moral attitudes we try to instill in our children.”
Early Wednesday, an Arab boy was abducted from an area north of Jerusalem. A burnt body was found hours later in a forest near the Israeli capital. Police said he may have fallen victim to a reprisal attack by Jewish Israeli extremists seeking to avenge the abduction and killing of the three Israeli youths in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc on June 12.