Rabbis issue ruling banning police, IDF from involvement in yeshiva seizure

Seizure of the yeshiva evokes outrage in Yitzhar and among settler leaders.

April 1, 2015 02:05
1 minute read.
Rabbi Dov Lior

Rabbi Dov Lior. (photo credit: Courtesy)

A group of senior hard-line national-religious rabbis have called on police and military personnel not to involve themselves in any way in the use of the Od Yosef Hai yeshiva building in the settlement of Yitzhar, which was requisitioned by the IDF last year due to security considerations.

The yeshiva was seized by the IDF in April 2014, due to what the military said at the time was a series of violent incidents that had emanated from the institution against local Palestinian communities and IDF personnel in and around the settlement.

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Since then a Border Police battalion has been stationed in the yeshiva, and the military seizure order has been extended several times, the last time in November 2014 for an additional six months.

The seizure of the yeshiva has evoked outrage in Yitzhar and among settler leaders, including some of the sector’s leading rabbis, who spoke out against the ongoing seizure on Tuesday.

In their letter, rabbis Dov Lior, Yitzchak Ginsburgh, Yisrael Ariel and Yitzhak Shapira, among others, said the seizure of the yeshiva and its use as an army base is disgraceful and “extremely upsetting.”

“According to the Torah of Israel, this deed is forbidden, because the structure was stolen from its owners; because of the desecration of what is sacred and the impingement upon the sanctity of the synagogue and study hall which never expires; and because of the Torah study that has been prevented by the closure of the yeshiva (as was said of the wicked among the kings of Judea),” the rabbis wrote.

“Therefore, according to Jewish law, it is forbidden for anyone to be involved in this deed, or to assist it, and any soldier or police personnel of any rank or position should avoid [such participation],” they decreed, citing a ruling by the 12th-century codifier of Jewish law, Maimonides, as the source for their decision.

Lior is one of the most highly respected rabbis of the hard-line, pro-settler movement rabbis, while Ginsburgh is president of the Od Yosef Hai yeshiva and Shapira is the dean of that yeshiva.

Shapira, along with another rabbi, wrote the hugely controversial 2009 book on Jewish law, Torat Hamelech, which ruled that it is permissible during a time of war to kill non-Jews even if they are not involved in hostilities.

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