*Benzi Gopstein warns: “The Reform are fighting me, but their final goal is the rabbis of Israel”
Benzi Gopstein started fighting against assimilation at age 14, and since then and until today he has led a series of public struggles, but currently the Reform are seeking to cut off his activities via a complaint they submitted against him in court. Gopstein elaborates: “This is not what will cause me to stop my activity”*
David Fried, Hidabrut Magazine, Rosh Chodesh Tamuz 5780/23.6.20
· “My activity against assimilation is anathema in the eyes of the Reform”
· “An indictment has been filed against you for ‘incitement’”
· “The Reform are helping us publicize the activity of the organization”
Last week, Benzi Gopstein appeared in the Jerusalem court due to a complaint filed against him by the Reform movement. The movement toiled long and hard to put him back on the defendants’ bench; they went through the various archives, checked out interviews he granted over the years, and in the end they succeeded in finding the statements they were looking for. So the Right-wing activist who sanctioned the fight against assimilation was summoned to the defendants’ chair at the Jerusalem court.
“My activity against assimilation is anathema in the eyes of the Reform”
“Don’t misunderstand”, says Gopstein at the beginning of our conversation, which is taking place after the end of the first hearing on the case, “the judges are cooperating with the Reform, and both the judges and the Reform have an identical world view on core issues of Judaism.”
Gopstein does not mince words when he talks about the Reform movement: “There have always been people who separated from the Jewish people as they sanctified a war on Judaism”, he says painfully. “In the past, there were the Hellenists who fought against the Jewish people at the time of the Second Temple, and years later came the ‘enlightened’ who wanted to harm everything holy and dear, and today, those are the Reform movement.” In his words, the blow of assimilation in the USA proves how the Reform movement is the greatest enemy of the Jewish people.
Dr. Michael Ben Ari, Gopstein’s friend and counterpart, completely agrees with his friend’s words and defines the indictment filed as “persecution of the worst kind. This is a literal silencing of people”, he says. “The Reform are fighting an all-out war on the basic values of Judaism throughout the generations. They’re currently acting against Benzi Gopstein as a person, but their final goal is to fight against the traditional Judaism that we march for.”
Ben Ari adds: “The Reform movement made itself a goal to undermine the foundations of Judaism; they fight against settlers, but their deeper goal is all of Judaism. The Reform are interested in encouraging assimilation in the Jewish people, along with other abominations. And on the way, they’re helping Leftist organizations. Notice that for whatever reason, the Reform’s voice is not heard even once on words of criticism against Arabs, and that’s not because we can’t find problematic statements and actions from our cousins, but they ignore this, because they want to fight against Judaism while they sympathize with the Arabs.”
“It’s clear to me”, Ben Ari continues, “that after Gopstein they will direct their fire at me. Because they are waging a real war against whoever fiercely defends the values that they are trying to destroy and annihilate; they don’t intend to be satisfied just with Gopstein, but they’ll want to fight me, too, and against other people, our partners. For them, anyone fighing against missionaries or who tries to act against all kinds of impure parades, constitutes a stumbling block on the way to their real goal, so they will act against such a person until the bitter end.”
Both Benzi Gopstein and Michael Ben Ari agree that the judicial system in Israel is actively cooperating with the Reform. “The Reform have an attentive ear in the hallways of the court, and they get special treatment by the prosecutors office and the court”, they elucidate.
“An indictment was filed against you for ‘incitement’”
“In the aforementioned indictment, there is a past quote of mine, saying that some of the Arab leaders are like a cancerous growth in our midst”, says Gopstein, and adds: “The Reform took this part out of an interview I granted, and decided to file an indictment against me. In my opinion, they believe that as a result of the disqualification of Michael Ben Ari from running for the Knesset, a legal precedent has been set that would enable them to bring about our imprisonment.”
That said, in contrast to the words written in the complaint submitted to the Attorney General against him by the Reform movement, Gopstein is convinced that his words against the Arabs don’t so much bother the movement. “The Reform’s real goal is to put the brakes on my activity against assimilation; this is the main thing that bothers them”, he says, and specifies: “Look, the Reform’s goal is to turn the Jewish people into a people just like any other people, G-d forbid, and within the framework of this plan, they even removed the word ‘Jerusalem’ from their siddur and sanctified a struggle against everything that belongs to Jewish tradition, so this is the main thing that bothers them.”
Gopstein tells of an organized fight by the Reform against him and his friends in recent years: “In the framework of the Reform battle against me and my cohorts, they’re trying to stop our activity any way they can”, he says. “They send letters to the Attorney General with a whole gamut of claims against us, and when one letter ends up producing nothing, they’re already looking for the next bit of content that just might make it possible to accuse us and cut off our activity. All the while, they are accompanied by first-class lawyers and legalists, some of whom cooperate with them out of an outright anti-Jewish ideology. Out of these acts of persecution, 2 years ago they went to the High Court and managed to construct the current indictment.”
At this juncture, Michael Ben Ari seeks to add to the conversation, and mentions that this is not just a trial against Gopstein alone, but a trial against all Torah-true Jews. “It’s clear to me that the moment they manage to cause Gopstein’s incarceration, their next move will be to fight the rabbis. Note that they managed to fight Rabbi Eliyahu, who ruled in the past that it’s forbidden to sell apartments to Arabs in Tzfat, and now he can’t say that out of fear that charges will be brought up against him. The Reform explicitly declared that this trial against me is only the beginning. Later on they plan to fight against the rabbis of Israel to silence them.”
You claim that the court is biased in favor of the Reform. Would you be able to point out the conduct noted in the current indictment that proves this?
“Indeed”, says Gopstein, “the High Court in this case serves the personal interests of the Reform. Proof of that can be seen in the fact that the court agreed to let the Reform in as a party to the case, even though it’s not directly connected to them”.
Gopstein is sure that the court’s clear bias can be seen in its different handling of what he said and which was defined as incitement, from things previously said by other parties, about which the court did nothing.
In order to drive home the point, he points to the campaign of defamation waged by Avigdor Liberman during the last election campaign. “Notice that about the Charedim, much more serious things were said”, he says, “and despite that, an indictment was never served against the inciters. At the same time, according to the criteria presented by the court in the indictment, Liberman should have been arrested a long time ago for incitement against the Charedi public, and Naftali Bennett should have faced serious charges for saying that he wants ‘maximum territory with minimum Arabs’.We can go on: Miri Regev said about the Sudanese that they are ‘like a cancerous lesion’. And all this even before we talked about an MK from the Joint List, Hiba Yazbak, who said even worse things from any standpoint. In all of these cases, the court didn’t do anything. There’s bias against us here, because we don’t have the power that the politicians have, and mainly – because of our activity, mainly that which deals with the struggle against assimilation.”
On the background of these things, Gopstein estimates that the court will be forced to cancel the charges against him. “But”, he adds, “if there were really any justice in the judicial system – I would not have stood trial at all.”
“The Reform are helping us publicize the organization’s activity”
Does the Reform harassment hurt your activity?
Gopstein replies that the reality is a little more complicated. “This indeed does make it hard for us to continue our ongoing work”, he says, “due to the fact that it requires us to deal with legal defense, but on the other hand, there is also the interest that helps to expose the organization, which is being created by the Reform’s actions. Thanks to the trial, and the article, for example, that was published about it in the Yediot Achronot newspaper, many people were exposed to the Lehava organization’s activity, and so was the activity of other organizations dealing with the struggle against assimilation, e.g. the “Hidabrut” organization, with whom we cooperate. So from a certain viewpoint, we can say that the Reform, in their war against us, brought about a rise in public awareness of the organization, so that people get the courage to fight for Jewish girls and so that they know they have addresses where they can find attentive ears and assistance.
“What is certain”, Gopstein points out, “is that we have no plans to stop, G-d forbid, our activity. We work for the name of Heaven and we have no intention of changing even one iota of our conduct because of some or other pressures.”
How are you actually fighting assimilation?
“Our work is mainly putting important, burning subjects on the agenda, and as we said before, when something hurts – you scream. There are phenomena that we have an obligation to shout out against. Whether it’s about assimilation, which unfortunately has arrived in our sacred country; whether it’s about the various abomination organizations that the majority of the public reject with disgust, but are afraid to act against these trends. And in a place where there is no man, it is written that someone needs to try to be a man, so, my friends and I have decided to raise a bitter cry and to act as much as we can and in every way possible, in order to preserve and guard the Jewish spark passed down to us through the generations.”
“Around the world”, explains Gopstein, “assimilation exists mainly between Jews and Xtians. Many Jews around the world, the majority of them ‘babies taken captive’, descend, to my sorrow, to the lowest level and get into mixed marriages. Here in Israel, this is expressed mainly with Jewish girls, kosher and pure daughters of Israel, falling into a brutal network of violence that young Arab men sweep over them. It starts many times with connections at work and the like, but also with chance meetings. For Arab youths, Jewish girls are easy prey, since in Arab villages they are limited by ‘family honor’. Because of that, they look for Jewish girls.”
The activities of Lehava are diverse and inclusive, in Gopstein’s words, including lots of measures, among them a campaign of persuasion; active financial assistance and provision of guest apartments for those women who have escaped the connection with Arabs.
That said, ‘Lehava’ is involved mainly in preventive action. “There are many good organizations working to prevent assimilation, the top one being ‘Hidabrut’, of course. We are involved mostly in public relations activity, and we send activists to known trouble spots, where we stop young Arabs from making any connections with Jewish women. And indeed, with the help of Heaven we are seeing a lot of success, and as the saying goes: “Whoever saves one life in Israel, it is as if he saves a whole world.”
And what is your message to a young Jewish woman who is considering tying her destiny, G-d forbid, to an Arab?
“A Jewish girl must be made to understand that aside from the severe and terrible ban on assimilating with other nations, her children will not have an identity: She will want them to be Jews, but the father will demand, even by force, that they conduct themselves according to Islam, including fasting during Ramadan, and children raised as Muslims will G-d forbid be cut off from the Jewish people. All that, even before the future that awaits her with the marriage itself, that usually turns violent and harsh. I turn here to every Jewish woman, whoever she is, and say to her: ‘You are the daughter of a king’. Remember that.”