September 28, 2011
Israel’s domestic intelligence agency is urging the government to stop funding a religious college in a Jewish West Bank settlement after warning that its senior rabbis are encouraging students to attack Palestinians.
The intelligence agency, Shin Bet, pressed a month ago for an immediate block on the annual £226,000 grant for the religious college, or yeshiva, in the notoriously extreme settlement of Yitzhar, near Nablus. The Education Ministry has reportedly yet to take a decision despite two meetings with Shin Bet.
Residents of the nearby Palestinian village of Asira El Qbilya say the masked, club-wielding teenage settlers who invaded it last week came from Yitzhar. The Israeli military disclosed last month that it had issued restraining orders on 12 settlers from the Yitzhar area for “violent and clandestine activity” targeting Palestinians in the West Bank, including endangering lives by “igniting… mosques, vehicles and buildings”.
The head of the Od Yosef Hai yeshiva complex in the settlement, Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, has been filmed accompanying students who threw stones at a Palestinian village. Rabbi Shapira is the author of The King’s Torah, a book which suggests that Jewish law on occasion permits the killing of non-Jews.