A hardliner settler rabbi asserted that Israel should strive to “cleanse” the territories under its control of all Arab inhabitants, adding that Arabs across the board were warmongers who were incapable of grasping the concept of democracy.
Speaking at an event in Givat Oz V’Gaon — an unauthorized outpost established recently in the Etzion Bloc in honor of Naftali Fraenkel, 16, Eyal Yifrach, 19, and Gil-ad Shaar, 16, who were kidnapped and murdered on June 12 — Dov Lior contended Tuesday that Israel would never be able to strike a peace agreement with the Palestinians, since the Palestinian population was only interested in waging war against the Jewish state, the religious-Zionist affiliated Kipa website reported.
“There was no peace and there will never be peace, not because we do not want [peace], but because there is no one to make peace with,” said Lior, who serves as the chief rabbi of the settlement of Kiryat Arba.
“This is their character, they are for war, and the traits of a nation do not change.”
Lior is no stranger to controversy. He was briefly arrested in 2011 after refusing to submit to police questioning regarding his endorsement of the book “Torat Hamelech,” a compendium of Jewish religious laws on relations between Jews and non-Jews containing racist invective and incitement to violence. The book also lays out the conditions under which Jews could kill non-Jews.
During his visit to the outpost on Tuesday, Lior claimed that the Arab states in the Middle East were not suited for a democratic system of government, according to Kipa.
“They know how to lead a democratic government just like I know how to deal with camels,” he said sarcastically.
The Kiryat Arba rabbi added that the Israeli government should encourage the Palestinians to emigrate from the region.
“We must strive to clean the entire country,” Lior said, referring to the Palestinians.
“We should offer them the right to return to their countries in the Arabian Peninsula, and give us the right of return to our country,” he said.
The outspoken rabbi had in the past come under fire for a number of controversial statements as well.
In June, only a week after the three teenagers were abducted from a hitchhiking post outside the settlement of Alon Shvut in the Etzion Bloc south of Jerusalem, Lior suggested that offense to religious traditions may be the reason for God having afflicted Israel with the kidnappings.
In October last year, he said that Arab “terrorists and their supporters… can go to Saudi Arabia.”
In 2011, Lior made similar comments, calling Arabs “camel riders” and “wolves” who “hate peace,” adding that they should be given the “right of return” to places like Saudi Arabia.
Lior is affiliated with the hard-right Tekumah faction, which merged with Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party before the 2013 elections.
Adiv Sterman and Stuart Winer contributed to this report.