Rabbi says would hold Kabbalah ritual calling for PM's death
By Haaretz Service
Jerusalem police are stepping up their probe of phoned threats to murder Prime Minister Ariel Sharon if the Gaza disengagement plan is not called off. On Tuesday night Rabbi Yossi Dayan, a former member of the outlawed Kach party, declared on Channel 2 that he would be prepared to carry out a ceremony putting a curse on Sharon.
The ceremony, called Pulsa Denura, was carried out before Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated in 1995.
Dayan, a resident of Kiryat Arba, said that he would be willing to conduct the ceremony if other rabbis instructed him to do so, and added that when he was asked to perform the ceremony against Rabin, he did so. The rabbi said that the security services and the police had questioned about this. "We are forbidden from talking now. We cannot pray. We cannot think. We cannot feel," Dayan said. "The head of the Security Service, [Avi] Dichter says that there are people wishing that Sharon would die. I am among them. What? Can't I wish?" he said.
Following Dayan's statements, the Judea and Samaria police are initiating an investigation against him of incitement to murder. Ilan Franco, chief of the capital's police, said priority has been raised of investigations into telephone threats against Sharon and Yonatan Bassi, who is in charge of implementing the disengagement plan. Franco also said that the police were tightening the security around the offices of the Disengagement Directorate in Jerusalem. He added that the police are also making preparations for securing the Temple Mount against extremists as the date for the implementation of the disengagement plan approaches.
"We intensified the security around the Temple Mount, security that was already in place. We certainly took into account the fact that extremist elements on both sides, not necessarily Jews, will seek to carry out an attack, in an effort to block the diplomatic process," Franco said.
Police and State Prosecutor officers are also continuing to examine the statements made and posters carried during the rightist mass rally in Jerusalem on Sunday for illegal incitement. "We culled banners during the rally that we thought should be examined by the Prosecutor's Office. If the prosecutor sees fit to instruct us to do so, we will initiate an investigation into the matter," Franco said.
When I read this, I went to the Lexis-Nexis database to try to find out about the Pulsa Denura curse carried out against Prime Minister Rabin before his assassination.
In the November 16, 1995 issue of the Jerusalem Report, in an article obviously written before Rabin's death, Peter Hirschberg reported on the ritual directed against Rabin, which was also invoked earlier, during the 1991 Gulf War, against Saddam Hussein. Although he does not name him in this article, Rabbi Yossi Dayan was apparently the rabbi who conducted the ceremony against Rabin, as this Reuters story points out.
YITZHAK RABIN DOES NOT have long to live. The angels have their orders.
Suffering and death await the prime minister, or so say the kabbalists who have cursed him with the pulsa denura - Aramaic for "lashes of fire" - for his "heretical" policies. "He's inciting against Judaism," says the Jerusalem rabbi who, clad in tefillin, read out the most terrifying of curses in the tradition of Jewish mysticism - opposite Rabin's residence on the eve of Yom Kippur.
"And on him, Yitzhak son of Rosa, known as Rabin," the Aramaic text stated, "we have permission... to demand from the angels of destruction that they take a sword to this wicked man... to kill him ... for handing over the Land of Israel to our enemies, the sons of Ishmael."
The rabbi, who won't have his name published but identifies himself as a member of the far-right Kach movement, says the curse generally works within 30 days. That put the expiry date - for Rabin or the curse - in early November.
For Jewish mystics of both North African and East European descent, curses taken from the tradition of "practical Kabbalah" are heavy weaponry - not to be used every day, but certainly available in wars, religious struggles and even political battles. Not only the ultra-Orthodox but many traditional-leaning Israelis regard them with the utmost seriousness.
Curses like the one against Rabin, explains sociologist Menachem Friedman, an expert on the ultra-Orthodox, are ways for the powerless to deal with impotence. "Magic," explains Friedman, "isn't used by the regime or the group in power. It's used by the powerless. When they do abracadabra ceremonies it shows that they're terrified. Magic gives them a sense of power."
Invoking the pulsa denura is a perilous undertaking, for if the ceremony is not performed in a strictly prescribed fashion, it can strike the conjurers themselves.
Before Rabin, the last person so cursed was Saddam Hussein. One day during the 1991 Gulf War, as Scuds rained down on Israel, a minyan of fasting kabbalists gathered at the tomb of the prophet Samuel just outside Jerusalem. There they entered a dark cave, where one of the holy men placed a copper tray on a rock and lit the 24 black candles he'd placed on it. As the mystics circled the candles, they chanted the curse seven times, calling on the angels not merely to visit death upon "Saddam the son of Sabha," but to ensure that his wife was given to another man.
That done, small lead balls and pieces of earthenware were thrown on the candles and the shofar was sounded. "The black candles," explains Yediot Aharonot journalist Amos Nevo, who documented the ceremony, "symbolize the person being cursed. When they're put out, it's as if the person's soul is being extinguished." Lead, he says, is for the ammunition in the war against the cursed one, earthenware symbolizes death, and the shofar opens the skies so the curse will be heard.
Saddam Hussein is still alive, although in prison, but Rabin is dead.