The current issue of Moment magazine dedicates its "Ask the Rabbis" section to the question "How Should Jews Treat Their Arab Neighbors?"
Rabbis from various denominations offered responses, but it’s the final one — from a Chabad rabbi, Manis Friedman of the St. Paul-based Bais Chana Institute of Jewish Studies — that is likely to spark the most reaction:
I don’t believe in western morality, i.e. don’t kill civilians or children, don’t destroy holy sites, don’t fight during holiday seasons, don’t bomb cemeteries, don’t shoot until they shoot first because it is immoral.
The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle).
The first Israeli prime minister who declares that he will follow the Old Testament will finally bring peace to the Middle East. …
Click here to read Friedman’s full answer, as well as the other responses.
The editor of New Voices says… We told you so:
When we published Jeremy’s piece on Lubavitch rabbis on the radical fringe of the settler movement, we were accused of exaggerating their importance. We were told that they were marginal figures, outside of the influence of Lubavitch HQ in Crown Heights, and that few American Lubavitchers shared their extremism. Rabbi Friedman’s wacky-if-it-weren’t-scary comment in Moment should defuse some of that criticism. Friedman seems to be a fully integrated into the mainstream American Chabad movement. He was the Rebbe’s translator until 1990, he has almost 200 articles and videos up at chabad.org, the movement’s official propaganda arm, and his Minnesota women’s yeshiva is listed in the official online directory of Chabad outposts. His website is fancy and looks well-funded.
When I come across this sort of thing, I wonder at Chabad’s popularity among secular Jewish students. These aren’t just bad politics, they’re insane politics. At what point does the Chabad rabbi tell the prospective Ba’al Teshuva that he thinks that Israel should “destroy their holy sites”? Probably not at the first Shabbat dinner, right? Maybe after two Shabbat dinners, a “lunch and learn,” and a Birthright trip through Mayanot? …