Why I am facebook-friend with Bentsi Gopstein

Tevet 16, 5775

I don’t even know Bentsi!
Update: Defriended (06. August 2015) 

It’s a few months ago, when I met a man (Avraham) from in one of these Jewish dating sites, but we weren’t lucky. Nevertheless, we made friends via facebook and after a while, he started suggesting new friends for me. I am a little cautious making friends. Friendship is still something very special for me, so I am somewhat critical towards facebook friendships. If someone asks me to make friends via fb, I usually ask back, why s/he thinks we were friends and in quite a few cases I finally turn down the friendship request. The number of my friends on facebook is somewhat limited. As of today it’s 33 friends and my fb-profile is now more than four years old.

One day, I found the friendship proposal with Bentsi Gopstein. As far as I remember Avraham proposed it and Bentsi requested the friendship with me. I asked Bentsi a few questions and finally approved the friendship. Actually, I have not the very best conscience with this process, as I really don’t know Bentsi. Well, I am friend with Rabbi Yehuda Glick and we don’t know each other as well, but among Jews we are at least a kind a siblings so why not making friendship as well? It’s a little easier and it’s easier to be careless, as we won’t harm each other. But friendship is something valuable. If I am friend with someone, of course I won’t let him/her down. At this point, I didn’t know too much about Bentsi. I didn’t know about the Lehava movement but once you have seen this and carefully studied the home-page of Learn and Return your views on anti-assmilation in Israel may get a different spin.

About two weeks ago, I then read about the arrest of Bentsi Gopstein by the Israeli police. They arrested him for incitement and they are pressing charges towards the whole group as a terrorist organization. The background – as far as I can see it – is that members of the group were arrested for being responsible for an arson attack on a bi-lingual school in Yerushalayim. While I fully support the relentless persecution of the arson attack,  I am having trouble with the second wave of arrests. Even though, Bentsi and the other members of Lehava may be distinguished opponents of assimilation and even have voiced very unfriendly words towards their opponents and towards the Arab population, I am having troubles with pressing charges against them, as others who do the same are running around free.

Hanin Zoabi openly incited against Christian “Arabs” and threatened them to keep them from joining the IDF and to keep them from pressing for their own nationality. Fortunately Arab Christians this years received their own nationality as Arameans. Zoabi was travelling with the flotilla in 2010 and it had no consequences for her. Ahmad Tibi plants a Palestinian Flag on top of the temple mount and he is also a frequent inciter, but it has no consequences. Sheikh Raed Salah is leading a movement is working with Hamas and frequently inciting against Israel and nothing happens. These people are running around freely and continue their evil doing, while Bentsi Gopstein is sitting in Jail.

At this point I was torn. Should I terminate the “friendship” with Bentsi – unfriend him?

My answer was a clear “NO”. Period!

I may disagree with Bentsi’s positions on some fields, but there are quite a few, where I may agree. Bentsi is still not convicted and until then, I assume his innocence.

We’ll see!

Until 21st of December we had a facebook friendship without consequences and I will continue with this friendship. Once Bentsi is convicted, I will think about it again, but until there is nothing to think about.