ADL Calls on Knesset Candidate to Apologize for ‘Appalling’ Remark Toward Muslims

Jerusalem, January 21, 2013 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today said it was “appalled” by the 2011 statement made by Jeremy Gimpel, a candidate for the Israeli Knesset from the Jewish Home party led by Naftali Bennett, suggesting that the Al Aksa mosque on the Temple Mount should be blown up as the first step toward rebuilding the Jewish Temple.

ADL’s Israel Office issued the following statement:

Al Aksa mosque is a holy site for all Muslims. Mr. Gimpel is an ordained rabbi. The statement was made to a U.S. audience before Mr. Gimpel became a candidate for the Knesset and was recorded on videotape.

Although Mr. Gimpel has now retracted the statement, saying he “opposes” the idea of destroying Al Aksa mosque and that “it was a joke,” we are appalled by the notion that an Israeli rabbi, no less one seeking elective office in Israel, would suggest an act of terrorism as a legitimate means of achieving a religious objective. Terrorism is no joke and expressions of violent aggression in the name of Judaism or any religion are never justified.

His original comment and his recent outrageous explanation for it call into serious question his qualifications to represent the people of Israel in the Knesset. Mr. Gimpel should apologize for his gross insensitivity to the Muslim religion.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.