After the Notre Dame Cathedral fire, French-born Israeli Rabbi Shlomo Aviner (Claude Landauer), 76, said that “There is no precept to burn down churches abroad. In our holy land, however, the issue is more complicated.”
Aviner answers questions sent to him by SMS. On April 16 he was asked whether a Jew should feel sorry for the fire or rejoice as a cathedral is “idolatry, which must be burned.”
The leading Rabbis, among them Maimonides (+1204), consider churches “places of idolatry” which ought to be destroyed.
Aviner refers to Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum (+1979) who argued against immigrating to Israel with the precept to burn churches, and by not doing so, Jews in Israel are sinning.
But Aviner stresses that Rabbi Menachem Kasher (+1983) rejected Teitelbaum “since if we burn, we’ll have to rebuild, and it’s a greater sin to rebuild a church than leave it standing.”
Aviner draws a public salary as the rabbi of the major illegal settlement Beit El in the West Bank.
Several churches have been burnt in Israel in the last few years but police have made no efforts to capture the arsonists.
Four years ago, the Israeli racist Benzi Gopstein encouraged burning down churches. He was indicted on incitement to violence, but church burning wasn’t one of them.
Picture: Shlomo Aviner, © Ariel Horowitz, CC BY-SA, #newsFyfxdakobf