Yediot Achronot correspondent Akiva Novik recorded a conversation with Meir Baranes, who was informed the conversation was recorded and consented. He told Novik that in 45 days, on 19 Kislev, the Chag HaGeula for Chabadnikim, he or a messenger of his would murder Rav Ovadia Yosef Shlita. Baranes is currently incarcerated in a psychiatric institution pending evaluation.
Kikar Shabbat reports that Novik is “quite concerned” since Baranes appears most serious regarding his threat and he for one does not think his words should be taken lightly or discarded. Novik stresses that he for one does not think authorities should take this threat lightly just because Novik is under lock at key at the moment.
In the late 1990s Baranes attacked Tzfat Chief Rabbi Levy Bistrizky z”l, and then April 2000, he ran the rav over with his car, traveling at high speed. For reasons few understand, he has never been held accountable for his actions because of his diminished mental capacity. In 2005, police launched an investigation against Baranes after he threatened the life of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. It appears that his mental state prevents the system from regarding Baranes as a murderer, and he is now threatening once again. He has been known as a deranged individual for a long time, yet the system does not address him accordingly.
In his conversation with Novik, he points to Parshas Noach, when the dove was released from the ark, stating on 19 Kislev he will release the dove from the “evil Rabbi Yosef” and begin the process of the redemption for Am Yisrael.
Please, tell me in plain words for someone like me, a secularist, what you plan to do to Rav Yosef in 45 days.
What do you want to here? Do I plan to murder him, yes, indeed.
First of all, because he has spoken out many times against the Rebbi from Lubavitch on the internet and elsewhere. Therefore, as a talmid of the Rebbe, I am compelled to act towards preserving his honor.
How will you do this since you are incarcerated?
Don’t worry, I have many friends from my paratrooper days who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the Rebbe, for his honor, and if I cannot do it personally, someone will – there are many there who would do this, and if not, Hashem has his ways. Not to worry.
NOTE: Rabbanei Chabad Shlita have disassociated themselves with Baranes over a decade ago, proclaiming him to be the deranged individual he appears to be.
Kikar Shabbat reports that aides to Maran Rav Ovadia Shlita are not commenting on the story.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)