A massive rally is planned for Monday evening near the Supreme Court to
protest the recent detainment and questioning of two senior rabbis.
Ya’acov Yosef, 64 and the son of Shas’s spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia
Yosef, was detained on Sunday morning on his way home from morning
prayers, and was briefly questioned by police on suspicion of incitement
to violence and racism over his alleged endorsement of the Torat Hamelech (The King’s Torah) book.
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Last week, Kiryat Arba- Hebron Chief Rabbi Dov Lior, 77, underwent a similar ordeal.
Lior cooperated with the investigators, while Yosef exercised his right to remain silent.
two rabbis were taken in for questioning and released after police for
months had asked them to come in for questioning on their own volition.
Both rabbis had refused.
Lior and Yosef will be among those
addressing Monday’s rally, which according to organizers will call on
the legal system to “stop the condescending political campaign of
shutting mouths, as is evident in the arrests of the rabbis and their
interrogation for a rabbinic endorsement of a book dealing with halachic
by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, head of the Od Yosef Hai yeshiva in Yitzhar,
gives Jews permission to preemptively kill gentiles, including babies,
in wartime, under certain conditions. The treatise is based on
Maimonides, the Shulkhan Aruch and other central Jewish sources.
Lior was taken in, the Yosef family knew that Ya’acov Yosef’s arrest
was imminent and inevitable, But they also insisted that he shouldn’t
show up for police questioning, saying there was no equality before the
law, and a rabbi shouldn’t be questioned for writing about Torah.
didn’t want to show up for investigation since he endorsed a Torah
composition, which shouldn’t be subject to investigation since
intellectuals in Israel have freedom of expression,” Amram Yosef said.
is inconceivable that people like Ben-Gurion University professor Dr.
Eyal Nir said that right-wing marchers’ necks should be broken, and
nothing came out of that incitement to murder. My father only expressed a
scholastic Torah opinion. This is all an attempt to harass rabbis from
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu related to Yosef’s
arrest during the cabinet’s weekly meeting on Sunday: “Israel is a
nation of law, as I said a few days ago. Nobody is above the law – and I
demand that every Israeli citizen respect the law.”
Netanyahu made a very similar call last week after the arrest of Lior.
the cabinet meeting, Government Services Minister Michael Eitan told
reporters that when the police asks for information, it is the
obligation of every citizen to come and provide that information.
Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein said that it is
always wise to weigh, as the country has done in the past, the true
necessity of every action taken by the police and the attorneygeneral.
of people held a demonstration in support of Yosef on Sunday afternoon
outside of his house in the capital’s ultra-Orthodox Shmuel Hanavi
Prominent rabbis as well as MKs Ya’acov Katz and Michael Ben-Ari, both from National Union, addressed the crowds.
called on Netanyahu to repent. “They are striking us not because we are
weak, but because we are becoming stronger and growing in numbers,”
He also said that when the numbers tip in their favor,
“we’ll get even with all of those involved” in what he described as
persecution of the Right.
“Everything will be according to law,” he stressed.
Zalman Baruch Melamed, head of the Beit El Yeshiva, expressed similar
sentiments, saying that “nobody can stop us, God is returning the Jews
to Torah, we have many religious army and police officers, it was
already difficult for them” to arrest the rabbis.
“The next stage is we take over the media, the State Attorney’s Office, the High Court of Justice with religious people.
This is an inevitable movement,” he said. “Trying to stop it just makes it stronger.”
“Tomorrow is the real demonstration, this was just spontaneous,” Ben-Ari told The Jerusalem Post after he accompanied Yosef back into his apartment.
message we sent today is that they can’t damage the pure word of Torah,
and that anyone who tries to harm this world is creating a war between
brothers. The public won’t allow this to happen, and they need to
understand that they’re playing with fire and there is going to be a
huge explosion,” he said.
“This is a black day,” said another of
Yosef’s sons, Yonatan Yosef, as a crowd tried to make its way to the
nearby tomb of Shimon Hatzadik. “They are just looking for the points of
conflict, for the areas that are going to explode,” he said. He added
that his father was doing fine after his brief detainment and would
continue his teaching schedule for the rest of the day.
speakers finished around 3 p.m., approximately 100 demonstrators tried
to march toward the Shimon Hatzadik tomb in the Sheikh Jarrah
neighborhood, which is across Highway 1. Police cars blocked the way,
and officers used force, including water cannons, to disperse the
“They were not hysterical,” Jerusalem police
spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said of the protest, which broke up after only
an hour and a half.
“We expected the demonstrations would
consist of attempts to block traffic, and throwing stones, and that’s
what happened,” he said. Ben-Ruby added that the protest was much
smaller in size than last week’s (when Lior was detained) and in a more
There were two incidences of demonstrators who
surrounded a car driven by Arabs who were passing by the neighborhood
and broke the windows, spraying pepper spray into the cars.
one instance, two young Arabs were lightly wounded by the pepper spray
and treated on the scene by Magen David Adom paramedics. The driver of
the second car fled the scene after being attacked, and police removed
the car from the area.
Police arrested seven demonstrators for disturbing the peace during the protests on Sunday.
Haredim set two dumpsters on fire and threw rocks at the police outside Yosef’s house.
residents caught in the crossfire complained that their neighborhood
had been almost like a war zone for the past three days, with hundreds
of protesters gathering at a moments’ notice. On Thursday, a rumor
spread through the local yeshiva community that Yosef was being
arrested, and hundreds of demonstrators showed up within minutes.
to reports in the haredi media, late on Sunday night demonstrators also
lit a small fire that was quickly contained, on the Bridge of Strings
at the entrance to Jerusalem, in protest against Yosef’s detainment.
Yosef called on his supporters Sunday night to stop the disturbances and return to their studies, Army Radio reported.
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.