Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira of the Samaria settlement of Yitzhar was released on bail on Monday, hours after he was detained by police on suspicion of incitement to racism, due to a pamphlet he published late last year that dealt with the killing of gentiles under Jewish law.
Earlier Monday, large numbers of police from the Judea and Samaria District and the International Crimes Unit raided Shapira’s house, following an inquiry by Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein into Shapira’s work Torat Hamelech. During the raid, police said they confiscated 35 copies of the pamphlet, along with other items belonging to Shapira.
Shapira's distinction between Jewish, gentile
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A spokesman for the Judea and Samaria District Police expressed dismay that the identity of the suspect had been revealed, noting that there still had not been a remand extension or any sort of formal charges, and that Shapira was only detained for questioning.
The spokesman added that it is too soon to tell if there will be any charges filed against Shapira.
Torat Hamelech is a 230-page pamphlet written by Shapira and Rabbi Yosef Elitzur from the Od Yosef Hai yeshiva, where Shapira also teaches. The book begins with a ruling against the killing of non-Jews, before describing situations in which such killings could be allowed.
The book, which never specifically mentions Arabs or Palestinians by name, includes one section entitled “Conclusions – Chapter Five: The Killing of Gentiles in War,” which said that in some cases it is permitted to kill the babies of enemy forces “because of the future danger they may present.”
MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) responded to Shapira’s arrested by saying, “Shai Nitzan of the state prosecution has appointed himself censor.
“In this country it is permitted incite against and oppose Judaism in
the name of ‘freedom of expression,’ yet rabbis are led away in
handcuffs for writing books. Shai Nitzan is returning us to the days of
In January, the High Court of Justice dismissed a petition by 11
non-profit organizations and religious groups calling for a ban on the
publication or distribution of the book and for incitement charges to be
filed against Shapira.
Also in January, Shapira was arrested in connection with an arson attack
on a West Bank mosque, but was later released.