Fact Sheet: Rabbi Dov Lior

September 01, 2023 IMEU
Fact Sheet: Rabbi Dov Lior
PHOTO: Rabbi Dov Lior speaks at a rally outside the Supreme Court in Jerusalem in July 2011, a month after being arrested on suspicion of incitement after he endorsed The King's Torah, a book that condoned the killing of non-Jewish civilians, including children. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

 

  • Dov Lior is an influential extremist Israeli settler rabbi and leading figure in the religious Zionist movement; former longtime chief rabbi of Israel’s illegal settlements in Hebron and Kiryat Arba in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, and former head of the Council of Rabbis of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank]. (See fact sheet here for more on other extremist rabbis funded by Israel’s government.)
  • Lior is closely associated with the fascist Jewish Power and Religious Zionism parties and their leaders, Public Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich. (See fact sheet here for more on Jewish Power and Religious Zionism. See fact sheet here for more on Ben-Gvir’s extremist ideology.)


Incitement to murder and crimes against humanity against Palestinians

  • Lior has repeatedly encouraged and condoned the killing of Palestinian civilians and called for Israel’s occupying army to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity against them.
  • In 2014, when the Israeli military was already committing widespread, grave war crimes and atrocities against Palestinians during a brutal assault on occupied, besieged Gaza, Lior called for Israel to punish all two million Palestinians in Gaza, about half of them children, and to destroy all of Gaza if needed to “exterminate the enemy,” writing on Facebook:

“in a time of war, [it] is permitted to punish the enemy population with whatever measures it deems proper, like blocking supplies or electricity. It may bomb the entire area based on the judgment of the war minister and not wantonly put soldiers at risk… measures to exterminate the enemy [are allowed]… The defense minister may even order the destruction of Gaza.”

  • In 2011, Lior was arrested and released without charge by Israeli police on suspicion of incitement after he wrote a forward endorsing a book written by two other settler rabbis that condoned the murder of non-Jewish civilians, including children and babies.
  • In 2011, Lior  told a settler rally: "There are no innocents in war.”
  • Lior was the rabbi of the Brooklyn-born settler who massacred 29 Palestinians as they prayed at the historic Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron in the occupied West Bank in 1994. Following the massacre, Lior praised the mass murderer as “a holier martyr than all the holy martyrs of the Holocaust.”
  • Lior issued a religious ruling condemning Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as a traitor worthy of death for entering negotiations with the Palestinians for the Oslo Accords before Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli in 1995and counseled the murderer afterwards.
  • Lior once wrote that Israel should use Palestinian prisoners as guinea pigs for medical experiments.
  • In the 1980s, Lior incited members of the so-called “Jewish Underground” to carry out a series of terrorist attacks that killed and maimed numerous Palestinian civilians..

 

Calling for ethnic cleansing of Palestinians 

  • Lior has repeatedly called for Israel to ethnically cleanse indigenous Palestinians from Palestine/Israel.
  • In 2014, Lior called on Israel to “cleanse” Palestinians from Palestine/Israel and to send them to Saudi Arabia, declaring: “We must strive to clean the entire country [of Palestinians]... We should offer them the right to return to their countries in the Arabian Peninsula.”
  • In 2013, Lior called on Israel to expel Palestinians to Saudi Arabia and to take full control of the historic Noble Sanctuary Mosque complex in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam, which messianic Jewish extremists want to replace with a Jewish temple, declaring

“Our generation is charged with reclaiming the Temple Mount [Noble Sanctuary]..[the Palestinians] can go to Saudi Arabia… I’m not saying we shouldn’t help them from a humanitarian point of view. If need be, we’ll build stables for their camels. In Saudi Arabia. Not here.” 

  • At a meeting of settlers in the West Bank in 2011, Lior called for Israel to expel all Palestinians from Palestine/Israel, declaring: "The Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel only.”
  • Ahead of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians at the US-sponsored Annapolis Conference in 2007, Lior called for Israel to ethnically cleanse Palestinians, declaring: "We must cleanse the country of Arabs and resettle them in the countries where they came from."


Inciting racial hatred against Palestinians and other non-Jews

  • Lior told a settler conference in 2011 that Palestinians are "wolves," "savages," and "evil camel riders." 
  • In 2011, at a "women's health conference," Lior warned Jewish women against marrying non-Jewish men, claiming: "Gentile sperm leads to barbaric offspring."
  • In 2012, Lior called President Barack Obama a "kushi," a derogatory term for people of African descent, and compared him to Haman, an enemy of the Jewish people described in the Biblical Book of Esther. He also called for increased illegal settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, in order to "eradicate the jungle."
  • In 2008, Lior issued a religious ruling forbidding Jews from employing or renting homes to Palestinians and other non-Jews.

 

Further reference

Haaretz (Israeli newspaper)
The Extremist Rabbi Who Reigns Unobstructed
A Racist, Messianic Rabbi Is the Ruler of Israel
Right-wing Rabbi’s Ruling: Israel May Totally Destroy Gaza if Necessary

Times of Israel (Israeli newspaper)
Hardline rabbi calls to ‘cleanse’ Israel of Arabs

IMEU
Fact Sheet: State-Sanctioned Incitement: Israel’s Extremist Rabbis
Fact Sheet: The Religious Zionism Coalition
Fact Sheet: Meir Kahane & The Extremist Kahanist Movement