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RABBI’S COMMAND FOR JEWS TO KILL ARAFAT RAISES FUROR

SHARE RABBI’S COMMAND FOR JEWS TO KILL ARAFAT RAISES FUROR

The bearded, stooped rabbi says he nearly killed PLO leader Yasser Arafat himself back in '68. Now he's raising a furor commanding Jews to carry out the assassination.

Rabbi Shlomo Goren's religious edict joins other controversial rulings that have come to characterize Israel's former chief rabbi and army general. Today he commands a small but militant following in a seminary in Jerusalem's old wall city.Last year he called on Israeli soldiers to disobey any orders to evacuate Jewish settlements, provoking the ire of Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin, who told him he was setting the stage for bloodshed in the army.

He also ruled that observant Jews should not heed laws passed by the Parliament if they were not passed by a Jewish majority, a slap at the Arab members of Parliament who help the ruling Labor party keep an edge over the opposition.

Most Israelis dismiss Goren's verbal attacks as bombast. But others see his opinions as dangerous because ardent followers take them as law. Legislators have urged police to open investigations against him, but so far they have all been dropped.

"I am prepared to sit in prison, write my books. I am not afraid of anything," Goren said in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press.

Goren's ruling to kill Arafat without trial was based on religious law and the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals. He believes that by ordering murders Arafat himself is liable for capital punishment.