Someone needs to repentSomeone needs to repent

Satmar head blames parents for murders

While expressing sorrow, New York-based anti-Zionist Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum says the three Israeli teenagers should not have been studying in the settlements

Renee Ghert-Zand is a reporter and feature writer for The Times of Israel.

Aaron Teitelbaum (YouTube screenshot)
Aaron Teitelbaum (YouTube screenshot)

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s burial of Gil-ad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Fraenkel, the Satmar Rebbe of Kiryas Yoel, New York, Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, pinned the blame for the teens’ murders on decisions made by their Orthodox Zionist parents.

In a speech the rabbi gave at the local yeshiva on Wednesday, the anti-Zionist Teitelbaum attributed the victims’ deaths to their having lived and studied in the West Bank, an area he characterized as being inhabited by “predatory animals” and “barbaric murderers.”

“They [the parents] caused the deaths of their sons and they must do teshuva for their actions,” the rabbi said bluntly.

Teitelbaum began his speech, given in Yiddish and broadcast by the Satmar news line Kol Satmar, by expressing sorrow over the brutal murders of the three Jewish teenagers by Hamas terrorists who picked them up at a hitchhiking post in Gush Etzion.

“When something tragic happens in our holy land, every heart bleeds and Hakadosh Baruch Hu feels the pain of his nation, and Jews everywhere feel tremendous sorrow over what happened here,” he said.

But the rabbi then suggested that the youths’ parents should have made confessions instead of having given eulogies at their sons’ funerals. “I think it would have been preferable if they had done teshuva, if they had said Viduy with tears, in the nusach that is used on Yom Kippur, to repent for their decision to live and learn Torah in a place of barbaric murderers,” he said.

“Who gave them a heter to live in a place like that, where they were living among known murderers? Is there no place in Israel to live and to learn other than in a place of tremendous danger?”

The 66-year-old Teitelbaum, one of the two grand rebbes of the Satmar Hasidic sect, minced no words in blaming the parents, who belong to the Orthodox Zionist stream. “It is all because of the yetzer hara and the desire for Jews to inhabit the entire state of Israel. It is Zionism for the mehadrin min hamehadrin…. It is incumbent upon us to say that these parents are guilty.”

The rabbi also spoke about the murder of the Palestinian teenager Muhammed Abu Khdeir from East Jerusalem following the burial of Shaar, Yifrach and Fraenkel. He said he hoped Khdeir’s murder had been carried out by other Palestinians, but acknowledged the suspicions that it was rather an act of vengeance on the part of Jews.

Fearful that a cycle of vengeful violence endangering the lives of Jews worldwide has been unleashed, Teitelbaum urged his followers to speak out against the settlements and to distance themselves from the “wicked and evil Zionists.”

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