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This Rabbi Called For The Burning Of Christian Churches

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Casey Harper Contributor

Bishops in Israel are afraid of a rabbi they say is calling on people to burn churches.

Police detained Israeli Rabbi Bentzi Gopstein of the Lehava movement after Gopstein allegedly incited his followers to violence against Christian churches because of their worship of idols.

The arrest came two days after the Vatican pressured Israel’s Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein over comments Gopstein made celebrating the burning of a church in Galilee, The Jerusalem Post reports.

“The Catholic community in the Holy Land is fearful and feels in danger,” The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, who originally filed the complaint, said in a statement.

Gopstein was asked at a panel if he was in favor of burning churches because they were part of worshiping idols.

“For sure,” he said. “Did Maimonides rule that you need to destroy or not? Idolatry needs to be destroyed.”

Two men of the same movement were sentenced to two and a half years last month for setting a preschool on fire and spray painting: “You can’t coexist with a cancer,” “Enough with assimilation” and “Death to Arabs.”

Gopstein said his free speech is being infringed upon and that he is being treated like an enemy of the state, but local church leaders say he is going too far.

“These remarks, which came after a troublesome act of vandalism against the Holy Place of Tabgha in Israel, are unacceptable to the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land,” AOCHL said in a statement. “They incite hatred and pose a real threat to the Christian religious buildings in the country.”

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