≡ Menu

Breaking News: Leader of Terror-Murder Cell Follower of Shas and Beitar Jerusalem

bazri murder suspect

Facebook from Shomron Settlers Committee announcing the name of the main suspect in the Abu Khdeir terror murder

CORRECTION: The tweet from the Shomron Settlers Committee on which I based some of the information below was later removed.  Subsequently, the Shabak made arrests and Ezra Batzri was not among them.  Hence the tweet was wrong.

Israel’s Shabak announced today it had arrested six Israeli Jews wanted in the immolation murder of Palestinian youth, Mohamed Abu Khdeir.  The leader of the terror cell is Ezra Batzri, the grandson of a well-known Jerusalem rabbi and a member of the Jerusalem Beitar racist fan club, La Familia.  Bazri is from the Jerusalem Har Nof,  a primarily Orthodox neighborhood with a large Mizrahi population.  Another suspect is from Beit Shemesh and another from the West Bank settlement, Adam.  Several are minors and their identities aren’t yet known.  They are being defended by the settler terror legal defense group, Honenu, which also defended Yigal Amir and other settler terrorists.

Unlike what I posted earlier, the conspiracy doesn’t seem particularly rooted in the West Bank (though one suspect lives there).  Rather, the suspects are all ardent followers of the Shas party, the home of Mizrahi Orthodox nationalists.  Until recently, the racist Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was the party’s spiritual leader.  Coincidentally, the latter also lived in Har Nof.  Another critical affiliation the suspects had was to the Likud-affiliated Beitar Jerusalem soccer club.  Beitar has an ardently racist fan club called, ironically enough, La Familia (the reference to the mafia is probably deliberate).

A few years ago, the then-owner, Russian oligarch Arkady Gaydamak, wanted to make a political statement and brought five Muslim players from a Chechen team he also owned to play for Beitar.  Within days people like Batzri burned down the club’s offices in an arson attack.  I don’t recall anyone being arrested for the crime, which is par for the course.

Batzri’s grandfather is the head of the Jerusalem rabbinical court, a distinguished religious position.  Another relative is a noted Shas-affiliated Kabbalist-wonder rabbi, Rabbi David Batzri , who was convicted of hate speech (Hebrew and English) in 2008.  Their offence involved incitement against Arabs which occurred at a protest against the founding of a bi-cultural Jewish-Arab school in a Jerusalem neighborhood. He said, in a homily reminiscent of the views of Rabbi Yosef:

The founding of this school is an act of rot and impurity.  You cannot mix the pure and impure.  We [Jews] certainly must be separated from other peoples [Arabs].  You will stand in the breach against this and prevent it.  It is prohibited to mix light and dark [ed., a veiled reference to skin-color].  Jews are pure.  Arabs are asses.  They are devils, demons, diseased.  So why did God make them walk on all fours?  Because they are donkeys.  That’s why they build and clean [a reference to Palestinian construction workers and garbage collectors].  But they must understand that they are donkeys.  They have no place in our schools.

In the context of Israeli religious hate, this is garden variety stuff.  As I said, many Jewish rabbis say even worse.  But what’s important about this statement is seeing how it was absorbed and implemented by Yizhar Batzri .  Clearly, the tradition of homicidal hate runs right through the entire family.  It’s not a surprise that it would manifest itself as it has.

Though I doubt this will happen, both Beitar and Shas ought to do a huge amount of soul-searching about how their ideology and theology (respectively) led these young people to the most heinous and bestial of acts.  If Israel was a nation that valued democracy and these institutions refused to do the soul-searching there would be civil and criminal sanctions levelled against them.  Beitar shouldn’t be allowed to play any official games for at least a year.  Shas should be shunned by the entire Knesset.  That won’t happen.

If you want to see why, watch this video and listen as almost an entire busload of Jewish Israelis verbally and physically assault an Israeli Palestinian on a bus, calling him “whore,” “murderer,” and shouting “Get out!”  The ringleader of the lynch mob is a man dressed in white and a black kippah.  It’s certainly possible he too is a Shas disciple or member of one of the other Orthodox racist parties.  Though there are two police officers on the bus they do nothing except stand between the two parties.  They make no attempt to force any of the attackers off the bus.

Homicidal racist Facebook post

Homicidal racist Facebook post

This is typical.  Jews have impunity.  Palestinians at best are suffered.  There is no affirmative attempt to defend or integrate Jews and Palestinians inside the state.  In this country in the 1950s and 60s whites who refused to accept Blacks were forced to do so by societal institutions including the courts, schools, military and police.  There is absolutely no will within the Israeli state to do this.  Until it does it will remain a crippled, stunted nation beset with ethnic strife, violence and economic injustice.

Here is another Facebook post by an Israeli congratulating the murderers on their “brave” act:

“Don’t stand by while the blood of your brother is shed.”

I’m proud.  I never believed Jews did it.  But nevertheless I’m proud and happy to see that there are Jews who could not stand it and remain silent.

I send a strong blessing and strength to the detainees (who I don’t know at all).

These terrorists weren’t terribly professional.  They used their own personal car–twice.  Once when they failed to kidnap a 9 year-old boy in the same Shuafat neighborhood where they went trolling for Arabs on the night the kidnapped Abu Khdeir.  The only reason their first attempt failed was that the boy’s mother held on for dear life and screamed her lungs out.  The victim’s mother reported the crime to the police, who “investigated.”  But in reality Israeli police have no interest in solving crimes involving Palestinian victims, certainly if the perpetrators are Jewish.  So an opportunity to prevent the eventual murder was lost by the typically racist, incompetent police force.

As I wrote earlier, all that these new developments signify is that the accused will likely be tried and convicted of murder.  They’ll spend a few years in jail.  Then a future Israeli president in four or five years will accede to the pleas of the settler-Shas cabal and commute their sentences or pardon them outright.  That’s the way things are done in this Jewish state which was meant for us Jews and no one else.  If we suffer non-Jews it’s because we are benevolent people and can offer the heathens civilization, paved (but segregated) roads and good restaurants.  (irony noted)

I note a very small measure of hope amidst this river of hate.  Palestinians from Hebron visited the Fraenkel home during their shivah to pay respects to the family.  Also, a West Bank rabbi arranged for the father of the Palestinian boy who was murdered to speak with the uncle of the Israeli boy who was murdered.  This was the man who bravely asked for no more bloodshed, saying that “blood is blood and murder is murder” whether of Palestinians or Israelis.  It would be a mistake to believe that these individual acts will transform either nation.  But small personal acts have meaning and value.  Of course, if they’re not followed by real political change, they mean almost nothing.

{ 35 comments… add one }
  • Oui July 6, 2014, 6:17 PM

    Ynet News: There cannot be one law for Israeli terrorists and another for Arab

    Sadly, there is a history of Jews killing Arabs in retribution. Murderers like those of the extreme right Jewish Underground quickly received pardons, and some never even saw the inside of a jail cell.

    The Israeli religious-Zionist public in all its diversity, the dear public, for the most part Zionist and filled with conscience, has to do some soul-searching. If it had done more to vomit out the extremist nationalists, we might not have been plunged to this moral nadir.

    The public, which is mostly religious, should remember the story of the men of Shechem, who murdered and raped Dinah, the sister of Simeon and Levi. They should remember what Jacob said to his sons Simeon and Levi, who carried out murderous reprisals against men of Shechem. He cut them off from inheritance, and handed down upon them the most terrible sentence father could deliver to his sons:

    Simeon and Levi are brothers— their swords are weapons of violence. Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased. Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel. (Genesis 49:5)

    One of six Jewish nationalists arrested confesses to revenge killing of Arab teen

  • Lou July 6, 2014, 10:46 PM

    “Unlike what I posted earlier, the conspiracy doesn’t seem particularly rooted in the West Bank”

    You posted earlier that: “..the terrorists are being harbored in a radical West Bank settlement. I said from the beginning they’d be found in Yitzhar or a place like it.”

    Beitar clubhouse arson indictments.


    • Richard Silverstein July 7, 2014, 4:30 PM

      @ Lou: Whenever a pro-Israel advocate uses ellipses ask yourself what text came before what he’s quoting. He is my entire passage:

      Involvement of the IDF in the crime implies the search has entered the West Bank (the military would not be involved in solving a crime within the Green Line) and that the terrorists are being harbored in a radical West Bank settlement.

      That remains correct. Involvement of the IDF means either that they believed the suspects were in the West Bank or that the West Bank played an important part in the crime. For all you know (& I’m trying to discover this myself) the terror cell may’ve been apprehended there. The first passage you quoted said the “conspiracy doesn’t seem particularly rooted in the WB.” Rooted means that it sprang up within the West Bank and that the killers were based in settlements. At least one suspect IS from a settlement. But it appears that the leader of the cabal came from within Israel. His ideology isn’t different than settlerism. But his geographical location was.

  • David July 6, 2014, 11:21 PM

    I suppose the state will level the homes of these accused, before any convictions, as is established routine already. The bulldozers will of course punish the FAMILIES of these perps, won’t it? After all…

    • Oui July 7, 2014, 12:37 AM

      Don’t forget pre-emptive strikes, assassination of the Shas leadership and banning of its members to Ukraine.

      “Though well known as a rabbi of a relatively ‘strict’ nature among the haredi public, like his predecessor, outside the community he is known for his polemic comments – namely against the religious Zionist party Bayir Yehudi and its voters. The most recent of such comments was when he called the religious Zionist public ‘Amalek’ – a derogatory concept used by some rabbis to describe atheism or threats to the Jewish people and faith.”

      Rabbis Threaten Kerry with ‘Divine Wrath’
      Right-wing rabbis compare Kerry to Titus and Haman

  • Lou July 6, 2014, 11:32 PM

    ” So an opportunity to prevent the eventual murder was lost by the typically racist, incompetent police force.”

    The ‘racist, incompetent’ police solved the crime as well as the murder of Shelly Danon, which may have been a ‘nationalist’ crime as well.

    BTW. You scoffed and called me a racist when I commented that the police would solve this crime sooner than the murderers of the kidnapped Jewish boys would be given up by their ‘hamulla’ (clan).

    • Richard Silverstein July 7, 2014, 4:23 PM

      @ Lou: No the police didn’t solve the crime, the Shabak did. The Shabak was the agency which believed the crime was Jewish terror. The police pursued the idea that it was an honor killing.

      Use the word “hamula” again is the semi-racist way you have & you’ll move from moderation to banning. Unless you’re willing to speak of Jewish tribes & clans.

  • Michael July 7, 2014, 2:41 AM

    You wrote:
    “Though there are two police officers on the bus they do nothing except stand between the two parties. They make no attempt to force any of the attackers off the bus.”

    The two people in uniform seen in the video are IDF officers, not police officers, by certainty (according to their badges) . One can here in the video that they are waiting for the police to arrive. The two were most probably in the bus by accident. You can see in the video that they stand between the angry mob and the Israeli Palestinian, protecting him with their own body, and getting beaten along the way by the mob. Their act is courageous.

    Please don’t judge people who protect other people with their own body from being lynched by an angry mob, if you haven’t been in such a situation.

    • Richard Silverstein July 7, 2014, 2:23 PM

      @ Michael: The IDF personnel weren’t “beaten by the mob.” The asshole took a swing at the Israeli Palestinian, hit him once and the second time may’ve accidentally struck one of the officers. The soldiers only prevented a lynch, but didn’t do anything affirmative to intervene and end the altercation as they could have. There is NO sign of police or that anyone called the police.

      If you make claims back them up with evidence. Saying they IDF personnel called the police or that anyone did isn’t factual based on that video.

      I have been in a situation where I was almost lynched in Israel. I was among a group attacked by a rock throwing mob. You don’t know anything about me.

      • Michael July 7, 2014, 3:31 PM

        I should have been more clear:
        1:05 – the soldier is saying to the Palestinian (who says that he wants to leave the bus): “No, you won’t leave – until the police arrives, seat down”
        I didn’t claim that the IDF personal called the police, as you for some reason suggested. I don’t know who called the police, but the sound bite in 1:05 is clear enough. It also indicates that someone already called the police.

        by beatings I meant:
        2:00 – the senior IDF officer is being pushed by the mob, falling on the bus seat
        2:22 – the other officer is being attacked by the the guy in red shirt
        2:38 – onward – the senior IDF officer is protecting the Palestinian with his body from the mob’s beatings.

        My point is that the IDF officers were most probably on that bus by accident, and its not clear from the video alone how could they have acted otherwise (apart from preventing a lynch, as you said, and waiting for the police, as I said.) They have no real authority – they are not the police. In your post it is still claimed that its the police. I don’t see the act of preventing a lynch as a trivial act, it takes courage.

        And I take back the last sentence of my last comment.

        • Richard Silverstein July 8, 2014, 1:37 AM

          I take back the last sentence of my last comment.

          Thank you. Luckily this was in 1979, when rightist violence was still relatively mild. They threw rocks at us and one hit me in the mouth. I’d never been hit by a rock by anyone. It was quite a sobering experience. Luckily it didn’t do major damage, but left an impression. The settlers have advanced from rock throwing to outright murder, I’m afraid.

          As for the video, through the shouting, screaming and cross talk it was hard for me to make out as much of the conversation you did. Thanks for adding that detail.

  • Ed July 7, 2014, 4:15 AM

    The name “Ezra Batzri” is part of a hoax. The name Menachem Mendel Beilis is also making the rounds.. he was accused of blood libel in 1913 in Kiev.. and died in 1939..

    • Richard Silverstein July 7, 2014, 5:16 PM

      @ Ed: At least you didn’t perpetrate the same lie as others who said Mendel Beilis was mentioned in the same post I published here. Another FB post clearly affiliated with Israeli rightists mentioned Batzri’s & Beilis’ name in the same post. The FB posting I’ve published here is from a different account & is the original posting. The other is clearly planted as disinformation. Which you’ve bought into since you’re part of the rightist hasbara apparatus. It’s YOU Ed, who is the hoax!

      • Ed July 9, 2014, 4:41 AM

        Ezra Batzri (b.1937) was Av Bet Din (Head of the Rabbinical Court of Jerusalem) .

  • Or July 7, 2014, 10:05 AM

    “Though there are two police officers on the bus they do nothing except stand between the two parties. They make no attempt to force any of the attackers off the bus.”

    The officers are IDF officers, not police officers as can easily be seen by their uniform and badges. As far as I know, they have no authority to force the law inside Israel. (Almost all) IDF soldiers do not carry weapon while in vacation anymore, so they had little to do, beyond what they did.

  • Oui July 7, 2014, 11:21 AM

    Religious Racism: Rabbi David Batzri and Son Yitzhak

    Religious Racism

    Rabbi David Batzri and his son Yitzhak were investigated by police after they made racist remarks against Arabs and protested against a mixed Arab-Jewish school in Jerusalem. [66][67] As part of a 2008 plea bargain, Yitzhak was sentenced to community service, and David issued a declaration saying he was opposed to any racist incitement and said that he calls for love, brotherhood and friendship. [68]

    Dov Lior, Chief Rabbi of Hebron and Kiryat Arba in the southern West Bank and head of the “Council of Rabbis of Judea and Samaria” issued a religious edict saying “a thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail” [69][70][71] and stated that captured Arab terrorists could be used to conduct medical experiments, [72] and also ruled that Jewish Law forbids employing Arabs or renting homes to them. [73][74] Lior denied holding racist views. [75] In June 2011 the Rabbi was arrested by Israeli police and questioned on suspicion of inciting violence. [76][77] Both opposition leader Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a full judicial investigation of Lior’s remarks and said that rabbis were not above the law. [78] In October 2010, Ovadia Yosef, a former Sephardi chief rabbi, stated that the sole purpose of non-Jews “is to serve Jews”.[79]

    [Source: Wikipedia]

  • Oui July 7, 2014, 11:22 AM

    Soccer fan attack on Palestinians sparks Israeli debate – March 2012

    An initially under-reported attack by militant supporters of controversial Beitar Jerusalem Football Club known for their anti-Palestinian, anti-Ashkenazi Jewish attitudes on Palestinian shoppers and workers in a Jerusalem shopping mall and the Israeli police’s failure to intervene and arrest any the attackers has outraged many Israelis and is raising questions about the moral fiber of a society that tolerates such incidents as well as a soccer club that is unashamedly racist.

    Police launched an investigation into the incident that was caught on security camera video only after the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported the assault and asked how Israel would have reacted if France had responded similarly to last week’s attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse in which four people, including three children, were killed. The alleged killer died in a shootout with police after an intense manhunt and a more than 30-hour siege.

    “Those who fail to raise their voice now over Malha will get Toulouse in Jerusalem. Sticks today, guns tomorrow,” warned Haaretz commentator Gideon Levy.

    Palestinian life is cheap and disposable, but Jewish life is sacrosanct

  • Marc Silverstein July 7, 2014, 11:26 AM

    I believe that only 2 Muslim soccer players were actually signed…unsure how many he brought over on trial…

  • Martin Cooper July 7, 2014, 11:55 AM

    For the record, the uniformed officers on the bus are one Air Force officer and one Army officer, not police.

  • Oui July 7, 2014, 12:12 PM

    Israel: Where Soccer Fans Boo Their Own Players When They Score

    (The Nation) – If we accept Zimmerman’s statement as true, that Beitar holds a mirror up to the entire country, then its actions in recent years become all the more frightening. Last March after a game, hundreds of Beitar supporters flooded a shopping mall in West Jerusalem, brutally assaulting a group of Palestinian custodians while chanting “Death to the Arabs.” Mohammed Yusef, one of the cleaners who was part of cleaning service, described it as “a mass lynching attempt.” The next day’s headline in Haaretz says as much: “Hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem fans beat up Arab workers in mall; no arrests.”

  • Oui July 7, 2014, 12:12 PM

    Moshe Zimmermann, a sports historian at Hebrew University, told The New York Times that he sees something darker at work in the soccer stands than just hooligans taking fandom too far: “People in Israel usually try to locate Beitar Jerusalem as some kind of the more extreme fringe; this is a way to overcome the embarrassment. The fact is that the Israeli society on the whole is getting more racist, or at least more ethnocentric, and this is an expression.”

    While Beitar has been given a great deal of leeway by authorities when carrying out acts of intimidation, it has also become somewhat of an international embarrassment. Last year, Dan Ephron of Newsweek wrote about the team with the sub-headline, “Jerusalem’s favorite football team has hiring policies reminiscent of Apartheid and Jim Crow.” The article, which has nary a quote from any Palestinians, does cite an Israeli soccer writer named Yoav Borowitz. Ephron writes:

    Borowitz likens Beitar to the white-only rugby teams of South Africa during the apartheid era, a comparison most Israelis would find repugnant. In a recent blog post, Borowitz vowed to no longer cover Beitar and called on other journalists to do the same.

    “A soccer club that’s unwilling to sign Arabs belongs in the trash bin of history. I myself have written more than a few articles about Beitar.… I won’t do it anymore.”

    • Ed July 9, 2014, 4:29 AM

      Moshe is NOT a sports historian. He is a historian whose main interest is Jewish history in Germany pre-WWII. A focus of his work is the events leading to the explusion of Jews from Germany (his own family is from Hamburg) and the Holocaust.

  • Nate July 7, 2014, 12:13 PM

    The officers on the bus are not police officers, but rather military (Air force) officers on the way to work. As such, they have no legal authority to arrest anyone for hate speech. The allegations you made are therefore unfounded.

    • Richard Silverstein July 7, 2014, 1:48 PM

      @ Nate: That’s even worse. There was official authority on the bus that refused to act. There were no police anywhere to be found to stop the lynch. Pitiful but expected.

      • andy July 27, 2014, 3:44 AM

        “official authority” officers in the military are responsible for their unit. there was no police. you just raring to blame the Israelis for every bad thing that happens.
        your articles on Gaza war are one sided totally. it seems to me you are full of hate on Zionism.

  • Michele Steinberg July 7, 2014, 12:50 PM

    Thank you, Richard Silverstein, for this very valuable and crucial report about the
    Jewish suspects in the killing of Abu Khdeir. From the “price tag” terrorists, to
    the Hilltop Youth, to the remnants of Kahane Chai and the Kach Party, fanatical
    networks have festered in the settlements. As I understand it, suspects that are
    well-known to the FBI for involvement in the 1985 killing Palestinian Alex Odeh,
    lived openly in the Jewish settlement in Hebron. Enough of blood and tears. Enough.
    Thanks again.

  • Joe Piscapo July 8, 2014, 8:44 AM

    The 2 idiots that torched Beitar’s offices were located and sentenced to 22 months and 10 months in jail. They were from Kiryat Gat area (Southern part of Israel).

  • Tamar July 8, 2014, 10:35 AM

    it’s a joke. this name came from alilat dam in alepo in 1952.:

    • Richard Silverstein July 8, 2014, 11:46 PM

      @Tamar: It’s a stupid joke, which is about the level of Israeli ultra-nationalist humor.

  • Oui July 9, 2014, 8:41 AM

    Retweeted by ShomronSettlersCmte @vhadshomron • 7 jul.

    מתיישבי השומרון

    פצצה מתקתקת- חייבים לשים לזה סוף. שתפו והזמינו חברים.

    אנא, שתפו את הפוסט, הזמינו חברים דרך האיוונט והצטרפו אלינו.

    ועד מתיישבי השומרון
    אוהבים את הארץ שלנו


  • Wendy July 9, 2014, 1:11 PM

    Just one point — on your recommendation that Beitar be punished for a year — I think I’d hold the team less to blame and La Familia more. It should be labelled a terrorist organization or criminally outlawed somehow (like the Kach they admire) and its members, like those who Price Tag, should all be treated like terrorists in the eyes of the law.

Leave a Comment