Friedman in 2007.(Wikipedia)
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(Rabbinic) Master of War

Dylan’s old rabbi calls for total war

Liel Leibovitz
June 09, 2009
Friedman in 2007.(Wikipedia)

Manis Friedman, a Chabad rabbi who mentored Bob Dylan during the singer’s 1980s bout of religiosity, has a message that sounds like something out of a Dylan song: with God on their side, Jews will win the next war. Asked by Moment magazine, a Washington-based journal of Jewish politics and culture, to weigh in on the question of how Jews should treat their Arab neighbors, Friedman rejected the bon mots usually reserved for such occasions and instead struck a biblical tone: “The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way,” he replied. “Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle).” The blogosphere,as you’d expect, lit up in anger. Whoops. Chabad released a statement, claiming to “vehemently disagree” with Friedman. And the rabbi himself published a clarification, saying that his words were taken out of context: killing children and destroying holy places, the rabbi emphasized, is only permissible in times of war.

Liel Leibovitz is Editor at Large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.