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Israel considers ban for far-right candidate over mosque gaffe
Published Sunday 20/01/2013 (updated) 21/01/2013 15:21
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Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men walk past a campaign banner depicting
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Ramat Gan near Tel
Aviv January 20, 2013. (Reuters/Nir Elias)

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- An Israeli panel weighed a request on Sunday to disqualify a candidate of a powerful far-right party from running in a Jan. 22 election for alluding in a speech to the possibility of seeing one of Islam's holiest shrines in Jerusalem "blown up."

The controversy is over a United States-born parliamentary nominee with the pro-settler Jewish Home party, one of the more serious contenders against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, though polls still predict he will win Tuesday's vote.

In a videotaped recording broadcast by Israeli television stations, Jeremy Gimpel is shown as saying in a 2011 speech in Florida, in reference to a Jerusalem holy site seen as part of a core issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

"Imagine today if the dome, the golden dome, the dome, I'm being recorded so I can't say, blown up. But let's say the dome was blown up, right? And we laid the cornerstone of the temple in Jerusalem, can you imagine?"

The Dome of the Rock, a golden topped Islamic shrine in Jerusalem's old walled city, is built at a site revered by Muslims as where the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven.

Jews also cherish the area, they call the Temple Mount, as the place where two biblical Jewish temples once stood.

A member of the centrist Kadima party headed by defense chief Shaul Mofaz demanded the Israel Central Elections Committee disqualify Gimpel's candidacy, saying his remarks violated laws against racial incitement.

Committee chairman and retired Supreme Court justice Elyakim Rubinstein responded in a statement he had not seen the videotape because it was broadcast on the Jewish sabbath, when Orthodox Jews are barred from watching television.

He urged Yoel Hasson, the lawmaker who made the complaint, to submit a more exhaustive argument including a videotape or a link, so he may give the case further consideration.

He added Gimpel's remarks "seem on the face of it to be very bad."


In remarks to an Israeli television channel, Gimpel denied on Sunday he had intended to call for the holy site's destruction, and that he was opposed to any such act.

"When I said what I did it was in parody of the fanatics who want to blow up the Temple Mount therefore it was a joke," said Gimpel, who added the comment was made during what he called "an innocent lecture on the Bible."

Israeli militants have been jailed in the past for plotting to attack the site, some of them citing a so-called messianic goal to rebuild a Jewish temple there.

Gimpel said his party, which has called for the annexing of parts of the territory Israel captured in a 1967 war and which Palestinians seek for a state, was against committing any acts of violence at the Jerusalem holy site.

"There is nobody in the 'Jewish Home' who calls for violence at the Temple Mount, who call to blow up anything. The holy temple was destroyed because of hatred," he said.

The party is one of some half a dozen factions in Israel's parliament, and polls predict it may win about 12 seats in the election which could earn it a role as a key power-broker in Netanyahu's next government.
1 ) MEL / USA
20/01/2013 22:33
B*LLSH*T! Those Religious Nationalist/Modern Orthodox Nazi's are deadly serious in their'jokes'especially the new US-M/O offsprings who head to Zionist seminaries on their military'hajj's',to plot to assassinate Israeli leaders who REALLY do some courage to seek fair peace,with occupied Palestinians,like PM Rabin murdered by extremist Yigal Amir.Remember Schachter(from YU)who suggested,on VIDEO,that IDF"shoot the rosh hamemshala"(2008)!?No neshama in Zionism!Racist hate only,capable of ANYTHING!

2 ) James / Canada
21/01/2013 01:21
Zionists showing their true colors and intentions, the shoe will be on the other foot once again, it goes round and round. Zionism=Nazism

3 ) Robert Haymond / Israel-Gush Etzion
21/01/2013 19:23
Jews not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in all our history where our ancient temples (destroyed) still lay beneath the al-Aqsa Mosque. Of course we want to take it back. Only problem has been, until now, an insufficiently inspired Israeli government. Bennett (leader) and Jeremy Gimpel (candidate) speak for many of us, however, and the Habayit Hayahudi party will score surprisingly well in the election on Tuesday, just as they should.

4 ) carine / UK
21/01/2013 21:31
#3 - ...and with your help, I'm sure these racists will. All I can say is god help the Palestinians and Israeli non-Jews!

5 ) ian / australia
21/01/2013 22:34
#3 I have a question Robert. What do those signs mean at the Kotel (near the entrance to the ramp): "According to Torah Law, entering the Temple Mount area is strictly forbidden due to the holiness of the site. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel"? Who does that apply to? Why do some people visit anyway despite the ruling? And why do some think the prayer room in the tunnel is as close as they should get? What is the thinking behind this? Would you visit? I was just curious. (Anyone?)

6 ) ian / australia
22/01/2013 00:32
It's not a "gaffe", it's a mindset. An extraordinary capacity to joke blithely about something so extreme. And a level of self-absorbtion in not realising (or caring) that it might cause alarm. Imagine light-hearted banter about a plan to bulldoze or dynamite the Kotel! And explained away as a "parody" of Islamic fanaticism. Imagine the outcry: Global Anti-Semitism on the Rise! Existential threat to Jewish People! The giveaway is the last bit: "And we laid the cornerstone of the temple

7 ) ian / australia
22/01/2013 00:33
(contd.) in Jerusalem, can you imagine?" No "parody" there. Nothing "innocent" about that. Jeremy Gimpel is deadly serious, kvelling with pride and stirred deeply by the thought. (His assurance that "...nobody in the 'Jewish Home'...calls for violence at the Temple Mount" or "to blow up anything" hardly reassures as "Jewish Home" is committed to TOTAL Jewish ownership of the Aqsa mosque (and Golden Dome) and the Land of Israel from river to sea.

8 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
23/01/2013 21:03
@ 5), Our Chief Rabbinate has posted these warning signs to instruct Israelites to refrain from setting foot there because otherwise one might mistakenly step on or around the area where our Holy of Holies chamber was located (within the Temple when it existed). That area was/is the holiest, most innermost sacred chamber of the Temple where absolutely no one was allowed on penalty of death except for our High Priest and even he was allowed there only on the Day of Atonement. Yes, some (cont.)

9 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
23/01/2013 21:16
Israelites (and other Jewish tourists who visit there) violate these rulings out of flagrant disregard/disrespect or their curiosity gets the better of them. Many Rabbinical rulings include banning visitation of the entire Temple Mount because the sacredness applies to the entire Temple area; other rulings are more lenient as to where one might possibly be allowed to set foot. So the prayer room is often set as a boundary limit for how far one is, if at all, allowed to go. I myself (cont.)

10 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
23/01/2013 21:34
would NOT go there in obedience to our Torah law and Rabbinical authorities. @ 6), 7), VERY well-said; however, I do believe Jeremy Gimpel is very sincere when he says he doesn't want violence or agitation at the Temple Mount. Believe me, no matter what anyone says (Israelite, Muslim, ANYone), EVERYone in Israel is damn well-aware of the sensitivity of the Temple Mount. He spoke much without his better judgement at that 2011 speech in the U.S. He was covering his butt, not being deceptive.

11 ) ian / australia
23/01/2013 23:13
#8-#10 An excellent, thoughtful answer Yehuda. Very interesting. Shukran jazeelan.
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