Head of extremist Israeli group to stand trial for incitement

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Head of extremist Israeli group to stand trial for incitement

Progressive Jews welcome the indictment of Bentzi Gopstein, leader of Lehava, who has previously threatened violence against non-Jews

Bentzi Gopstein, leader of Lehava
Bentzi Gopstein, leader of Lehava

The head of an extremist group in Israel seems set to stand trial for incitement after being arrested for threatening violence against Christian and Muslim Arab men who form relationships with Jewish women.

Bentzi Gopstein, leader of Lehava, which opposes any Christian presence in Israel, was one of 14 group members arrested on 21 October, but a judge at Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court later ordered Gopstein’s release, cite weak evidence. 

News this week of his indictment cheered Jewish activists and representatives of Reform Judaism, who had argued for his arrest, saying the group was a racist organization responsible for “hate crimes and incessant incitement against Arabs”. 

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin described Lehava members as “rodents” and Israel’s former head of the armed forces, Moshe Ya’alon, sought to have the group categorised as a terrorist organisation in 2015, before being replaced as defence minister by Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Gopstein, whose lawyer said his client was innocent, is an admirer of Jewish Defence League founder Meir Kahane. A rabbi who was once convicted of conspiracy to manufacture explosives, Kahane sought to rid Israel of any non-Jews, and proposed allowing them to stay only if they agreed to give up all national rights.   

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: