A notoriously racist rabbi who once called on Israel to slaughter a million Palestinian civilians has been appointed to head a supervisory committee for Magen David Adom (MDA) – Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
Haaretz reported that under pressure from ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups MDA decided to set up a rabbinical committee to dictate religious guidelines – including gender relations – for volunteers in the rescue service.
The committee is headed by Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Safad, whose salary is paid by the Israeli government. Eliyahu has a long, well-documented history of extreme racism and has called for violence against Palestinians.
Since 2006, Magen David Adom – whose name means Red Star of David – has been a full member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and is Israel’s internationally recognized agency for disaster management, ambulance service and blood banks.
The organization also raises tax-exempt donations in the United States through the American Friends of Magen David Adom.
‘Kill a million’
In 2007, Eliyahu advocated mass slaughter of Palestinians in order to deter rocket fire from Gaza, while defending a ruling by his late father that Israel was permitted to indiscriminately kill civilians. “If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand,” Shmuel Eliyahu advised, adding, “And if they do not stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill 100,000, even a million. Whatever it takes to make them stop.”
Eliyahu has stated that the “seducing” of Jewish girls was “another form of war” by Arab men.
In 2010, Eliyahu and other state-employed rabbis issued a ruling telling Jews not to sell or rent property to members of the country’s Palestinian Arab minority, who make up a fifth of the population.
Eliyahu has led efforts to prevent Arab students from living in Safad, stating, “When a non-Jew moves in, residents begin to worry about their children, about their daughters. Many Arab students have been known to date Jewish girls.”
Eliyahu has publicly denigrated Arabs and Muslims, stating, “whenever I’m interviewed I ask the interviewer if they would want an Arab to live in their neighborhood.”
Violating neutrality and respect for international humanitarian law
As a member organization of ICRC, Magen David Adom is presumably committed to the mission of the ICRC:
The work of the ICRC is based on the Geneva Conventions of 1949, their Additional Protocols, its Statutes – and those of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – and the resolutions of the International Conferences of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. The ICRC is an independent, neutral organization ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and armed violence. It takes action in response to emergencies and at the same time promotes respect for international humanitarian law and its implementation in national law.
What could be more contrary to that mission than Israel’s MDA appointing Shmuel Eliyahu who not only defends and advocates mass, indiscriminate violence against civilians, but is a racist par excellence?
It should be recalled that there was a years long campaign by Israel and Zionist organizations to get MDA accepted into the ICRC. If MDA does not completely dissociate itself from, and condemn racist inciters like Eliyahu, perhaps it should be expelled.
Moreover, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society should review any cooperation with MDA.
This article was originally published by Electronic Initifada.