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World Bnei Akiva leaders accept secretary-general’s apology for revenge call

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — World Bnei Akiva Secretary-General Rabbi Noam Perel will keep his job after the governing body accepted his apology for his call to avenge with blood the murder of three Israeli teens.

The Extended Secretariat, or Mazkirut Murchevet, of the organization met last week and on Friday issued a statement saying that it had accepted the rabbi’s apology, which he posted on Facebook three days after his initial post on June 30 calling for revenge, and then again on  July 7.

The governing body said it would “establish a forum of representatives from around the world to advise on appropriate responses and next steps to address present challenges and to spread our message of love of humanity,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

Bnei Akiva, which has approximately 30,000 members, operates separately from Bnei Akiva of Israel.

Perel deleted his Facebook post, in which he wrote, “The travesty will be atoned for with the enemy’s blood, not with our tears. 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.” He also referenced the biblical story of David, who killed 200 Philistines as the bride price for King Saul’s daughter.

The post came hours after the bodies of the three Israelis were discovered in a field north of Hebron, 18 days after they were reported missing. Following the teens’ funerals, a Palestinian teen was kidnapped and murdered in what is considered a revenge killing.

Bnei Akiva of North America, which in a July 7 decision called for the rabbi’s immediate dismissal, issued a statement Friday saying the World Bnei Akiva leadership decision was “very disappointing.” The statement said it would “consult with its colleagues in the international Bnei Akiva community and reassess its relationship with and membership in World Bnei Akiva.”

Prior to the decision the British branch of World Bnei Akiva threatened to break off from the organization if Perel were not fired.

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