A right-wing Israeli rabbi drew censure after calling for Ehud Olmert and other government leaders to be executed.
Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe, a Chabad rabbi in Israel, was shown on television Wednesday addressing a demonstration against the Olmert government’s peace moves with the Palestinian Authority.
“The terrible traitor, Ehud Olmert, who gives these Nazis weapons, who gives money, who frees their murderous terrorists, this man, like Ariel Sharon, collaborates with the Nazis,” Wolpe said in his speech.
He added that the prime minister, Vice Premier Haim Ramon, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak would be “hanged from the gallows” were Israel run properly.
Israeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu lambasted the remarks, which apparently were heard without protest by several religious lawmakers who attended the rally.
Ramon in a statement said Wolpe’s behavior recalled the incitement that led to the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Yoel Hasson, a lawmaker with Olmert’s Kadima party, said he would ask Israel’s attorney general to take legal steps against Wolpe, who leads a messianic faction.
Chabad officials in the United States distanced themselves from Wolpe’s remarks, and the Orthodox Union issued a statement condemning Wolpe’s comments.
“While we – and many other supporters of the State of Israel – often find ourselves in disagreement with the Government of Israel on certain policy matters, it is unconscionable to cross the line into hate, violence and threats,” the statement from O.U. President Stephen Savitsky and Executive Vice President Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb said.