International Federation of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists

On behalf of 1.8 million Jews around the world, ARZENU, the Reform Zionist movement, wholeheartedly condemns the anti-assimilationist group, Lehava, and its leader, Benzi Gopstein when he says “Christians Are 'Blood Sucking Vampires' Who Should Be Expelled From Israel” and that Israel should “remove the vampires before they once again drink our blood.'


“Were the word “Christian” replaced by “Jew” aware in the world, the entire Jewish community would be up in arms, calling on the Government of the country to act against such vile and discriminatory language” said ARZENU President, Rabbi Lawrence Englander.  “Accordingly, we expect nothing less from the Government of Israel, who should instruct the Prosecutor and Police to immediately launch and investigation.”


ARZENU joins the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism and the Coalition Against Racism in asking for the deputy prosecutor for special functions, as well as the police unit in charge of cybercrime, to investigate. As stated, “This statement was not made in a vacuum but in the context of many acts of violence against Christian clergy in recent years.”


“We concur with Orly Erez-Likhovski, head of the Reform center’s legal department said Rabbi Englander “Benzi Gopstein stops at nothing to incite against anyone who is not him – Arab Muslims, Christians and others, using harsh language and calling for violence. Unfortunately…in the face of this incitement…law enforcement is thunderously silent.”


“This attack comes after a number of complaints against Gopstein that are still waiting to be dealt with, including investigation for statements made in 2012 which became public when he was arrested together with other activists in December 2014, after Lehava members torched the bilingual school in Jerusalem.”  


“The behaviour of this man and his followers is both an insult and a threat to every Jewish person who sees Israel as a beacon of democracy and pluralism in the Middle East” says Rabbi Englander “it is crucial that the Governmental and its Institutions act quickly and decisively to deal with this group’s illegal and incendiary behaviour, and to prevent further damage to the reputation of Israel and all Jews who seek to live in respect and harmony with people of other religions.”




[Acknowledgement is given to Ha’aretz and Contributor Sharon Pulwer

Haaretz Contributor for the quotes attributed to Gopstein].

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