Would-be MK says he was joking about ‘blowing up’ Muslim shrine


Jewish Home candidate Jeremy Gimpel speaks about a 'blown up' Dome of the Rock, in a Florida church in 2011 (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)

Lapid and Livni blast US-born Nazi Gimpel, Jewish Home party candidate, for a speech apparently relishing prospect of Jewish Temple replacing Dome of the Rock; Hatnua wants him banned

Times of Israel
Center-left party leaders Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid castigated Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party on Saturday as including dangerous extremists. They both focused on a 2011 speech in Florida by American-born Jeremy Gimpel, 14th on the Jewish Home list, in which he apparently rejoiced at the possibility of the Dome of Rock on the Temple Mount being blown up, and the cornerstone of a third Jewish Temple laid in its place.
Gimpel said later Saturday the clip was misleading, and that he had been telling “a few jokes.” He urged people to watch the entire speech. On Sunday, he said that section of his speech had been “a kind of parody about the fanatics who want to blow up the Temple Mount,” and that no one in his party calls for violence on the Temple Mount.
In separate interviews on Channel 2′s “Meet the Press” Saturday, three days before Tuesday’s general elections, Livni, leader of the Hatnua party, and Yesh Atid leader Lapid, both referred to Gimpel’s speech and warned of the “extremist” vision of Israel it and the Jewish Home party represented.
Later Saturday, Hatnua appealed to the Central Elections Committee to bar Gimpel from running for the Knesset because of his alleged incitement. The request, submitted by Hatnua’s Yoel Hasson, was unlikely to succeed. Appeals to bar far-right and far-left politicians failed earlier in the campaign.
Jewish Home is heading for about 12-14 seats in the elections, according to polls, which means Gimpel could gain a Knesset seat. Yesh Atid is set to win about 11-12 seats and Hatnua 7-9.
In his speech, part of which was broadcast on Channel 2 on Friday night, Gimpel urges his audience in a Florida church to imagine “the golden dome” — the 1,300-year-old Muslim shrine atop the mount, the site of the biblical Jewish temples in Jerusalem’s Old City. “Let’s say the dome was blown up and we laid the cornerstone of the temple,” Gimpel says with enthusiasm. He tells the Christian audience that they’d surely all rush to be in Israel if that happened. He adds that since he is being recorded, he is refraining from expressing more radical sentiments.
A view of a wooden footbridge leading up from the Western Wall to the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, with the Dome of the Rock in the background, December, 2011. (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)
In another section of the same speech, Gimpel compares US President Barack Obama to Persian King Ahasuerus from the Book of Esther, and expressed outrage at the “building freeze” Obama had been seeking in Jerusalem.
Gimpel defended himself by claiming that what he said were his jokes, made to spruce up his lecture to a Christian group, were taken out of context.
“This lecture was given to a Christian group as I was teaching about the book of Ezra, a story that happened over 2,000 years ago,” Gimpel’s spokesman told the The Times of Israel. “In order to make the lecture more lively I made a few jokes and you clearly hear the audience laughing. This is a cheap political attack and I would urge anyone to watch the video in its entirety and decide for yourselves.”
Bennett complained later that only a “segment” of Gimpel’s speech had been shown on TV, said his candidate “didn’t call for anything” to actually be done on Temple Mount, and said he was “proud” of Gimpel and stood behind all the candidates on his Knesset slate.
Asked twice about Gimpel’s comments in an interview at the end of the program, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made no direct response, saying only, “My positions are known.. and they are firm and responsible.”
Livni noted that Bennett’s party has representatives “who want to blow up the Temple Mount.” She said Jewish Home represents “a state [of Israel] run according to religious Jewish law, an extremist state” and added that she wouldn’t sit in a governing coalition with the Jewish Home party. “I won’t be a fig leaf in an extremist right-wing, Orthodox government,” she made clear.
Lapid said he agreed with Bennett on many issues, but that the Jewish Home party is “very Orthodox” and that others on the Jewish Home Knesset slate are “homophobic… and people who want to blow up the Temple Mount.”
Labor party chair Shelly Yachimovich, on the same program, described Bennett as “a right-wing extremist.”
Bennett, later in the program, defended Gimpel and attacked what he said were left-wing extremist candidates on the Labor and Hatnua lists.
In interviewing the various party leaders, the two-hour Channel 2 program Saturday night was the closest thing to a debate during the election campaign. But although some of the leaders put recorded questions to each other, there was no direct interaction between them.

Bayit Yehudi candidate calls for resettling Gaza Strip



Evacuated Gush Katif settlement [file]. Photo: Gaston Zvi Ickowicz Naftali Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi faced new charges of extremism Sunday after a religious Zionist website revealed that one of the party’s candidates called for returning Gush Katif evacuees to the Gaza Strip and rebuilding dismantled West Bank settlements.
The website Kipa reported that in a parlor meeting last week, Hebron rabbi Hillel Horowitz, who is 13th on the Bayit Yehudi list, said his party would do the maximum possible to return Israel to a full presence in the communities Israel evacuated in 2005.
“We will do everything we can to work to return the people of Israel to Homesh in the northern Samaria and to Gush Katif,” Horowitz said. “We will take action to bring about Israel’s annexation on the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. It is simple: We will act with all our strength on behalf of the land of Israel, the Torah of Israel, and the people of Israel.”
Parties on the Center-Left attacked Horowitz and warned voters who were planning on voting for Bayit Yehudi to support Bennett.
Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni told supporters in Sderot Sunday night that she was glad that Horowitz’s statements were revealed before the election and not after.
“There are not 15 Bennetts,” said MK Yoel Hasson (Tzipi Livni Party). “Behind Bennett’s charismatic smile, there is an extremist, delusional gang who will bring about their share of extremist acts that will harm our democracy. Anyone who votes Bennett and who is not a right-wing extremist should know who they are voting for.”
Labor MK Eitan Cabel, who heads the party’s response team, responded to Horowitz by saying “Insanity has no god.”
Bayit Yehudi spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
The attacks on Horowitz came the same day that Jeremy Gimpel, who follows Horowitz on the Bayit Yehudi list, clarified what he told Christian Zionists in Florida in 2011 about blowing up the Dome of the Rock on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. He said that in the speech he was mocking those who called for such a thing.
“I gave a Bible lesson,” Gimpel said. “I wasn’t a politician then, I wasn’t running for anything. It was a parody on the fanatics who want to blow up the Temple Mount. Of course I oppose it. No one in Bayit Yehudi supports violence on the Temple Mount or calls for blowing up anything. The Holy Temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred and will be built on love.”
Gimpel scoffed at Hasson for filing a motion to disqualify him from Bayit Yehudi’s list of Knesset candidates. He said it would be funny if Balad MK Haneen Zuabli were allowed to run and he would not.
In a press release in English, Gimpel said: “I unequivocally oppose any violence at any holy site, whether it be the Kotel Plaza, the Temple Mount, or sites sacred to any other faith.”
Gimpel said splinter parties on the Left were desperately seeking to make headlines by twisting the truth and taking remarks out of context.
“The voters will see through it,” he said. “There are serious issues at stake in these elections: Israel’s security, Jewish Identity, housing prices, cost of living, and more. I am calling on the public to see past the sensationalism and cheap shots and seriously consider which party represents their values, views, and hopes for Israel.”
Gimpel said he was particularly upset that the report that maligned him was on Friday night when he could not immediately react due to the Sabbath.
There were also Sabbath attacks on Bennett. He said that every Friday night during this election season different parties have taken shots at the Bayit Yehudi leaving them defenseless for 24 hours and unable to respond until Saturday night as the party refrains from any media interviews during the Sabbath.
“It’s dirty politics and people are sick and tired of it,” Gimpel said. “We are offering an alternative. As many parties have attacked us to compensate for their lack of new and innovative ideas, we have run a positive campaign aimed at uniting all sectors in Israel.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *