Saturday, 19 January 2013

"it would be incredible if Dome of the Rock blown up"

US-born candidate's Temple Mount quip causes ado

 In 2011 video, Bayit Yehudi's Jeremy Gimpel addresses Christian crowd, says "it would be incredible" if Dome of the Rock "blown up."

The Tzipi Livni Party announced Saturday that it planned to request from the Central Elections Committee that a Bayit Yehudi candidate, who spoke of the Dome of the Rock being “blown up” in a video clip, be disqualified from running in Tuesday’s election.

The clip, which was first revealed by Channel 2, shows the 14th candidate on the Bayit Yehudi list, Atlantanative Jeremy Gimpel, addressing a group of Christian Zionists in Florida in November 2011. Gimpel states in the clip, “Imagine today if the golden dome, I’m being recorded so I can’t say blown up, but let’s say it was blown up, right, and we laid the cornerstone of the Temple in Jerusalem. Can you imagine what would be? None of you would be here. You would be going to Israel. It would be incredible.”

Livni Party MK Yoel Hasson said Saturday evening that he would ask the committee to disqualify Gimpel on the grounds that he had voiced incitement to racism.

“The mask of the cool start-up guy has been ripped from the face of [Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali] Bennett,” the Livni Party said. “The strange list that he is taking to the Knesset seeks to inflame the Middle East and to bring on a third world war with its crazy visions of building a temple.”

Gimpel responded that the clip was taken out of context from a lecture he gave to a Christian group about the book of Ezra, a story that happened over 2,000 years ago.

“The controversy is ridiculous,” Gimpel said. “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.”

Hasson said that Gimpel’s attempts to give excuses are neither relevant nor credible.

He said that if someone spoke about blowing up the Western Wall he would attempt to have him disqualified due to the same clause in the law.

Website +972 Magazine later added another clip in which Gimpel said the Dome of the Rock “doesn’t belong there.”

Asked about the connections of his to Messianic Christian organizations, Gimpel said: “We have a policy of staying away from Jews for Jesus groups. Our major donors are Jews. We don’t take money from Christian organizations, but we do accept money from individuals of all backgrounds.”

Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett also defended Gimpel, saying that the video showed a Bible lesson, and was not a call to blow up the Temple Mount. Bennett expressed frustration that reports about him and his list came out on Shabbat when they could not respond.

“I’m very proud of my list and I’m proud of Jeremy Gimpel,” Bennett said.

In an interview with Channel 2, Bennett lashed out at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the Likud’s repeated attacks on Bayit Yehudi candidates. He said Netanyahu was doing to Bayit Yehudi what the Left did to demonize him following the 1995 assassination of then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.

“Netanyahu started the most despicable campaign I’ve ever seen against religious Zionists,” Bennett said.

Netanyahu responded in his own Channel 2 interview that he had the utmost respect for religious Zionists.

“Religious Zionists are part of the national leadership thanks to Likud,” Netanyahu said.

“It’s not right to send them back to sectarian parties. Sectarian parties are not good for Israel.”

Asked about a statement from Bennett that his employment as Netanyahu’s chief of staff ended on good terms, the prime minister said, “The fact is that it ended and I won’t go beyond that.”

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