Israel sentences Islamic cleric for call to kill Jews
An Israeli court on Sunday sentenced a Palestinian Islamic preacher to eight months in prison over a sermon at a volatile Jerusalem holy site in which he called for Jews to be killed.
The Jerusalem magistrates’ court had in March found Sheikh Omar Abu Sara, 51, guilty of incitement to violence and racism in a sermon he delivered at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound.
In his November 28, 2014 sermon, which was also uploaded to YouTube, Abu Sara said “the Jews” were treacherous, stubborn, murderous, rude and shameless, while also calling them “monkeys and pigs”. “I’m telling Jews explicitly -- it’s time to slaughter you, time to fight you, time to kill you,” he said, according to a transcript of the speech in the court decision.
He vowed Muslims will “free this land from your filth, and that day is approaching.” The sermon came against the backdrop of months of unrest over perceived Jewish attempts to take control over the holy site, which Jews refer to as the Temple Mount and consider their most sacred. There were also tensions over the murder of a Palestinian teenager in July in revenge for the killings of three Jewish teenagers in the West Bank.
The killings were part of a cycle of violence that led up to the 2014 war between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza. Abu Sara claimed the sermon should not be considered incitement to violence and racism since it was based on religious scriptures and teachings and contained “general and non-binding” statements, the decision said.