Dov Lior
Rabbi Dov LiorReuters

An Israeli right-wing rabbi has legitimised the destruction of Gaza "so that the south [of Israel] should no longer suffer".

Dov Lior, a Zionist religious leader and chief rabbi of the West Bank's illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba, wrote in a religious ruling that according to the Torah Jews in the time of warfare may use "deterrent measures to exterminate the enemy".

The attacked nation "is permitted to punish the enemy population with whatever measures it deems proper, like blocking supplies or electricity," Lior wrote, according to Haaretz. "It may bomb the entire area based on the judgment of the war minister and not wantonly put soldiers at risk."

"The defence minister may even order the destruction of Gaza so that the south should no longer suffer, and to prevent harm to members of our people who have long been suffering from the enemies surrounding us," he wrote.

The old rabbi is not new to similar controversy. In June 2011, he was arrested by Israeli police on suspicion of inciting violence for endorsing a religious book, the King's Torah, which justifies Jews' killings of non-Jews including babies.

He stated in September 2011 that Arabs are "evil camel riders" . On one occasion, he stated that Jewish women should not use sperm donated by a non-jewish man as "Gentile sperm leads to barbaric offspring".

Two years ago, Lior compared US president Barack Obama to Haman, an enemy of the Jewish people in the Book of Esther and labelled him a "kushi" of the West - a derogatory term used to describe people of African descent.

The rabbi branded the Europeans as "Nazi collaborators" and called for a rise in West Bank's illegal settlements "to eradicate the jungle".

Baruch Goldstein, the Israeli who murdered 29 Palestinian worshippers at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, met Lior before his rampage. He was described by Lior as "holier than all the martyrs of the Holocaust".