From Khalid Amayreh in occupied E. Jerusalem
"A leading Israeli rabbi has called for ethnic cleansing of millions of Palestinians who have been living in Palestine from time immemorial. The rabbi, Yona Metzger, who hold the official title of Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi in Israel, was quoted Monday as saying in an interview with the British Weekly, the Jewish News, that the Palestinian people could have a nice country in the Sinai desert.
“Take all the poor people from Gaza to move them to a wonderful new modern country with trains, buses and cars, like in Arizona. This will be a solution for the poor people-they will have a nice country, and we (the Jews) shall have our country and we shall live in peace.”
Metzger also reportedly said that he would discuss the “matter” with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, adding that he thought the idea would find popularity among Israelis.
The rabbi also suggested that Muslims had no right to Jerusalem, saying that Muslims had Makka and Medina, and that Jerusalem belonged solely to Jews.
Metzger’s remarks were dismissed by Muslim scholars in the West Bank as “hateful, mendacious and racist.” “This Nazi-like rabbi should know very well that Palestine belongs to the Palestinians and that that he and other Zionists should return back to Eastern Europe and the Khazar region,” said Abdul Ja’abari, Professor of Sharia and Islamic studies at the Hebron University. “Those who seek to banish us from our motherland shall themselves be banished.” Ja’abari described Metzger’s remarks as “hateful, mendacious and racist.”
“If this man who calls himself rabbi had a modicum of morality and justice, he would call for the repatriation of these refugees back to their former homes and villages from which they were expelled when the hateful Israeli state was established.
“He claims to be a follower of the Torah of Moses, but as far as I know the Torah prohibits oppression and prohibits injustice and prohibits stealing people’s land and property.”
Sheikh Mousa Hroub, another Muslim scholar from the Bethlehem region, called Metzger “ignorant of both religion and history.”
“He should know that present-day Palestinians have more spiritual and biological connections with Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Ibrahim (Abraham). He should also know the Arab presence in Palestine preceded the Jewish presence by at least a thousand years. So what is that ignorant rabbi talking about?
Hroub also dismissed Metger arguments that Muslims have Mekka and Medina as holy places and that Jews had Jerusalem. “I am not against Jews praying in Jerusalem or San Francesco. This is not a problem. But to say that Muslims and Christians should be treated as second –class citizens and second-class worshipers is totally unacceptable. “This is like saying that the Christians had the Vatican and don’t need other places like Bethlehem and Nazareth. It is nonsense.”
Zionist rabbis in general normally hold radical and even racist views toward non-Jews in general and Palestinians in particular. A few weeks ago, an Israeli rabbi named David Batsri referred to Arabs as “donkeys” who he said were created by the Almighty in a human shape in order to work and carry out certain tasks.
Such blatantly racist remarks are made routinely by Zionist religious leaders in Israel where society continues to drift toward religious and nationalist chauvinism.
Not all rabbis accept these extremist views, enforced by the persistence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In fact, some rabbis spearhead the struggle for human rights in the occupied territories. They argue that Israel’s behavior are incompatible with the authentic teachings of Judaism."