The Attorney General’s Office announced on Monday that the authors of the book Torat Hamelech, which says it is permissible in some situations to kill non-Jews according to Jewish law, will not be indicted. Investigations against rabbis who gave their approbations to the book will also be closed.
The book, published in 2009, was written by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira and Rabbi Yosef Elitzur of the Od Yosef Hai Yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar. It provides an analysis of the Jewish laws regarding the permissibility or otherwise of killing non-Jews during times of war and peace, and was condemned as racist by many pluralistic groups who claimed it incited violence and racism against Arabs and other minorities in Israel.
The book’s publication in 2009 sparked a huge public outcry, which also saw Israel’s two most respected rabbis, Sephardi Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef and leader of the non-Hassidic Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox community Rabbi Shalom Yosef Elyashiv come out in public opposition to the publication of the Torat Hamelech.
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said that the investigation was being closed because there is not enough evidence that the book was published with the intention to incite racism. Weinstein wrote that the Torat Hamelech is written in a general manner and does not call for violence.
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