Baruch Marzel: Advocate of ethnic cleansing

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Baruch Marzel, an Israeli right-wing extremist from the Jewish settler community in the divided West Bank town of Hebron, clashes with a fellow Israeli left-wing activist during a protest against settlements in Hebron on May 8, 2009. (AFP file photo)
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Israeli extreme right-wing activist Baruch Marzel leads a controversial demonstration in Nazareth, the largest Arab-Israeli city, on July 15, 2012. (AFP file photo)
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Baruch Marzel, an Israeli right-wing extremist from the Jewish settler community in the divided West Bank town of Hebron, clashes with a fellow Israeli left-wing activist during a protest against settlements in Hebron on May 8, 2009. (AFP file photo)
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Israeli police block the road in front of extreme right-wing activist Baruch Marzel who is leading a controversial demonstration in Nazareth, the largest Arab-Israeli city, on July 15, 2012. (AFP file photo)
Updated 21 August 2019

Baruch Marzel: Advocate of ethnic cleansing

  • Marzel emerged from hate activist Meir Kahane’s shadow to become a figurehead for Jewish radicalism in Hebron
  • Marzel takes part in aggressive activities against Palestinian residents and hosts Israeli troops for meals

Baruch Marzel, who lives in a Jewish outpost built in the heart of the Palestinian city of Hebron, has confronted many Palestinians who have tried to witness Israeli restrictions on non-Jews visiting the Ibrahimi Mosque.

The mosque is famous for being the burial ground of the Prophet Abraham, and for being the site of the massacre in February 1994 of 29 Muslim worshippers by Chicago-born Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein, who was a close colleague of Marzel.

In 1995, when I was president of the Palestinian American Congress, Marzel’s colleagues threatened to beat me with clubs as I walked up to the Ibrahimi Mosque to view a memorial set up for Goldstein’s victims.

It was only because I am Christian and was holding a US passport that Israeli soldiers stood between me and Marzel’s settler friends.

BIO

• Name: Baruch Marzel

• Nationality: Israeli-American

• Place of Residence: Hebron, West Bank

• Organization: (Eretz Yisrael Shelanu, Jewish National Front)

• Occupation: Former spokesman of Meir Kahane’s Kach party

• Medium: Through interviews, videos and articles

Marzel was one of the early leaders of hate activist Meir Kahane’s Jewish Defense League (JDL). After Kahane was killed in November 1990, Marzel played a larger role in the organization, which has changed names several times and was represented in Israel’s Knesset (Parliament) as the Kach political party.

Marzel has run for political office in the Knesset and is a member of the Otzma Yehudit political party, which was reorganized from the outlawed Kach.

He has openly advocated the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. “There’s no way we’ll have quiet or peace inside Israel as long as we have here millions of supporters of terror, people that believe in their religion that all of the Land of Israel … is theirs, and that we’re occupiers, and the Jews have no right to a state or can even exist here,” he said. “The only way to have peace is to get them out of Israel.”

Born in Boston, Marzel’s family moved to Israel when he was an infant. He joined the JDL at the age of 13.

Marzel claims to have joined the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and to have shot dead several unarmed Syrian soldiers he had taken prisoner.

He said he did this as he was wounded by a captured Syrian commando who let off a concealed grenade and thought he might die, so he wished to exact revenge. Marzel took the same spirit of confrontation into his political activism.

“It’s a religious war. And they believe they have to destroy us … to kill us ... And we believe that ... they can’t stay here,” he said.




Hate preacher Baruch Marzel

In 1984, Kahane won a seat in the Knesset and appointed Marzel as his parliamentary aide. Marzel was renowned for his open hostility, harassing leftist and Palestinian Knesset members. After his mentor’s death, Marzel was elected head of Kach’s secretariat and ran for the Knesset.

He emerged from Kahane’s shadow to become a figurehead for Jewish radicalism in Hebron, where he has led attacks against its Palestinian residents. He has been imprisoned many times for his acts of violence and intimidation.

Hostility and confrontations between the small Israeli population in Hebron and its Palestinian residents are a daily occurrence.

But its darkest day was in 1994, when Goldstein opened fire on Muslim worshippers in the Ibrahimi Mosque during Ramadan. As the dead and wounded lay on the floor, survivors tackled him and beat him to death.

Marzel celebrated Goldstein after his death, and in 2000 held a party at his graveside during the Jewish festival of Purim. “We decided to make a big party on the day he was murdered by Arabs,” Marzel told the BBC.

“Without supporting what (he) did … Baruch Goldstein was one of the purest people in the world ... He was a saint,” Marzel said. “After what he did, terrorism stopped in Hebron for four years ... one Jew wasn’t hurt.”

To this day, Marzel encourages and takes part in aggressive activities against Palestinian residents of Hebron, while hosting Israeli troops stationed there at his house for lunch.

 

READ MORE:

All about Baruch Marzel

The rotten apple did not fall far from the wretched tree
 

But his activism is not confined to Hebron. Alongside Ben-Zion Gopstein, Michael Ben-Ari and Itamar Ben-Gvir, Marzel founded and became a spokesman for the segregationist Lehava movement.

The Jewish far-right campaigning organization objects to almost every kind of personal relationship between Jews and non-Jews.

Marzel remains active in politics. He is a member of Otzma Yehudit, which calls for Arabs to leave Israel.

The willingness of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to work with such parties means their influence cannot be underestimated.

Netanyahu even received criticism from AIPAC, the largest pro-Israel lobby in the US, over the election alliance he agreed to with Otzma Yehudit.

Marzel is doing his best to make sure Kahanism passes onto the next generation. “Thank God, out of (my) nine kids, seven had trouble with the police for good causes,” he said. “I educate them to be fighters, and I’m proud that they fight ... They had a big fight with Arabs.”

Whether it is with his own children, other Jewish settlers in Hebron or far-right activists across Israel, Marzel will continue to radicalize Israeli politics and do all he can to prevent coexistence between Jews and Arabs.


Israel records highest single-day virus tally

Updated 10 July 2020

Israel records highest single-day virus tally

  • Benjamin Netanyahu has admitted that the decision to allow businesses, including bars and event spaces, to re-open may have been made “too soon”
  • Certain towns and city neighborhoods across the country considered virus hotspots have been placed under more robust lockdowns

JERUSALEM: Israel has recorded its highest number of coronavirus infections over a 24-hour period, with nearly 1,500 new cases confirmed in the most recent daily count, the health ministry said Friday.
Israel had won early praise for its virus containment efforts, but cases have surged since a broad re-opening began in May.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted in a late Thursday news conference that the decision to allow businesses, including bars and event spaces, to re-open may have been made “too soon.”
“I take responsibility for it,” he told reporters.
From midnight (2100 GMT) on Wednesday to midnight on Thursday, the health ministry registered 1,504 new coronavirus infections — the highest single-day tally since Israel confirmed its first case on February 21.
The country of roughly nine million has now registered more than 36,000 cases, including 351 deaths.
Various restrictions have been re-imposed, including the closure of venues, clubs, bars, gyms and public pools.
Limits on the number of people allowed in restaurants and places of worship have also been reinstated.
Certain towns and city neighborhoods across the country considered virus hotspots have been placed under more robust lockdowns.
Israel’s director of public health services, Siegal Sadetzki, resigned this week, blasting her superiors for ignoring her advice and steering Israel’s virus response off course.
“Despite repeated warnings in different forums, we are watching with frustration as our window of opportunity (to contain the virus) is running out,” Sadetzki said in a Facebook post announcing her resignation.