The “Top Rabbi Supports Islamization of Europe” story is making the rounds in a number of places. So let’s begin with a few things.
1. The source of the story is Yediot Ahoronot, an Israeli tabloid tilted to the left which is not known for high levels of integrity, but is known for running crowd-pleasing anti-religious stories.
2. Rabbi Baruch Efrati is not a top Rabbi. Based on his picture he looks to be in his twenties or thirties. He is certainly not even the chief Rabbi of Efrat, a town of only 7,000 people. He appears to be the head of the Zayit Raanan synagogue and one of many local religious schools.
3. Rabbi Baruch Efrati’s views on Islam have trended somewhat oddly politically correct in the past. For example when he suggested, extremely dubiously, that Jews should pray in a mosque, rather than at home. He has claimed on a number of occasions that Islam is a basically moral religion, aside from its propensity for violence.
4. There appears to be a history of Rabbi Efrati giving unnecessarily controversial and inappropriate responses to questions, occasionally then highlighted in places such as Yediot Ahoronot. It’s hard not to suspect that this is his way of getting attention that would otherwise never come his way.
5. Efrat, despite being considered a settlement by the left, has a liberal fringe and it has Rabbis with a propensity for saying absolutely crazy things. Locals may be able to explain what happened to Rabbi Riskin, a formerly credible New York Rabbi who moved there. Or the antics of Rabbi Froman in nearby Tekoa who signed an agreement with Hamas.
6. There is a fringe in the settlements that believes that people can be achieved by reaching out to Islam on a religious level. This is a foolish and doomed dhimmi project.