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Extremist U.S.-Born Rabbi Gets 60-Day Detention

March 11, 1996

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Prime Minister Shimon Peres signed an order Monday sentencing an American-born rabbi to 60 days’ administrative detention because of ``intentions, from religious motives, to harm Arabs.″

Police arrested Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg, the head of the Od Yosef Chai religious seminary in the Palestinian-run West Bank city of Nablus, on Sunday.

Od Yosef Chai was one of the seminaries frequented by Yigal Amir, the confessed assassin of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Amir has said he received rabbinical sanction for the Nov. 4 murder, but Ginsburg denied ever issuing such approval.

The American-born Ginsburg reportedly organized a party last Wednesday commemorating the second anniversary of the massacre of 29 Palestinians in Hebron by a Jewish settler, Baruch Goldstein.

Ginsburg has maintained the party was a celebration of the Jewish holiday of Purim and that extremists ``piggybacked″ the commemoration onto the party.

But at the time of the massacre, Ginsburg praised Goldstein _ who died during the attack _ for ``sanctifying God’s name, saving Jewish lives, revenge, uprooting evil and fighting for the land of Israel.″

``This person has a rich background in incitement and calling for harming Arabs,″ a statement from Peres’ office said of Ginsburg. ``He has recently increased his (published) intentions, from religious motives, to harm Arabs.″

Ginsburg was already under an order barring him from entering the West Bank. That order would have stopped him from reaching his seminary, which is the only Jewish presence in Nablus, a town now under Palestinian control.

That order did not go far enough, said the Peres statement.

``(Ginsburg) is very influential and his dangerous activity continued despite the administrative restrictions,″ it said.

Israel’s emergency laws, used in the past mostly against Palestinians, allow administrative detention without trial of up to six months for charges related to terrorism.

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