Shabtai Ben-Dov

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Shabtai Ben-Dov (Hebrew: שבתי בן דב‎) (born 1924–1978) was a member of Lehi and a philosopher.[1] His work has been influential on several right-wing Israeli messianic groups.

Personal life[edit]

Ben-Dov was born in Vilnius, then part of Poland in 1924 and moved to the British Mandate of Palestine in 1935.[1][2] He joined the Irgun, which was fighting the British for control of the region.[3] When Lehi split from Irgun, Ben-Dov joined the former to continue fighting the British, who he didn't think were doing enough to try and stop the Holocaust.[3] He was caught, imprisoned, and eventually exiled to Africa by the British.[1][4] He returned to Israel after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, and fought in the IDF's 89th battalion.[1]

After the Six Day War in which Israel captured the Temple Mount, but allowed the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf to control it, Ben-Dov sued the government. He demanded that the Temple Mount be controlled by those who would "protect it as a Jewish holy place".[4][5]


Ben-Dov believed in a theory of active redemption - that the Mashiach would only come through a bloody national conquest, and that Jews who believed non-violent means could bring about the end of days were naive.[6] He thought that Israel should be a theocratic state instead of a democratic one in order to keep the people focused on the cause of conquest.[4] The establishment of the Third Temple would speedily bring about a world government based on Jewish values governed by a Sanhedrin.[7]

Although his philosophy did not catch on, he did win over Yehuda Etzion to whom he served as a mentor. Etzion later become a member of the Gush Emunim Underground and a revered figure in the Third Temple movement.[4][8] Ben-Dov's philosophy was influential on the group Hai Vekayam, as well as many Gush Katif leaders.[9][10] Etzion would later devote himself to publishing Ben-Dov's writings, of which several volumes have been published.[8][11]


Ben-Dov is the author of:[12]

  • The Redemption of Israel in the Crisis of the State
  • Prophecy and Tradition in Redemption
  • After the Six Day War: From the Six Day Victory On


  1. ^ a b c d בן דב שבתי. Jewish Encyclopedia Daat (in Hebrew). Herzog College. 
  2. ^ Ben-Dov, Shabtai. מהלח חיי (PDF). 
  3. ^ a b Shragai, Nadav. הר המריבה. 
  4. ^ a b c d Gorenberg, Gershom. The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount. p. 116. 
  5. ^ "בג"ץ 223/67". 
  6. ^ New, David S. Holy War: The Rise of Militant Christian, Jewish, and Islamic Fundamentalism. 
  7. ^ Shindler, Colin. The Land Beyond Promise: Israël, Likud and the Zionist Dream. 
  8. ^ a b Shragai, Nadav (January 26, 2005). "Third Temple culture". Haaretz. 
  9. ^ Berger, Marshall J. Jerusalem: A City and Its Future. p. 308. 
  10. ^ Yishai, Yael. Land Or Peace: Whither Israel?. 
  11. ^ "יהודה עציון במשימת חייו". Arutz Sheva. February 19, 2007. 
  12. ^ "Shabtai Ben-Dov". 

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