A group of petitioners on Sunday called on the High Court of Justice to indict two Yitzhar settlement rabbis for writing and marketing a book in which they say Jewish religious law permits the murder of Palestinian babies and that at times it is preferable to deliberately kill innocent people.
"There are reasons for killing babies even though they have not violated the seven sins, because of the danger that will be caused if they are allowed to live and grow up to be as evil as their parents," the petitioners quoted from the book, "The Torah of the King."
The book was written by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, head of Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva, and Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, a teacher at the school.
When asked by The Jerusalem Post to answer some questions regarding the petition, Shapira replied, "Not now."
The petition was initiated by Yod Bet B'Heshvan - The Movement to Strengthen Tolerance in Education, a religiously observant organization founded in the wake of the 1995 assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. Other petitioners include Brit Ne'emanei Hatorah, a moderate religious Zionist organization, Hamahanot Haolim, Hashomer Hatzair and Kolech-Forum for Religious Women.
Asked how he had come across the book, Gadi Gvaryahu, a founder of Yod Bet B'Heshvan, told the Post, "The book has been prominently displayed in stores. We bought a copy and were shocked when we read it. The book includes enormous forces of hatred, evil and wickedness."
Gvaryahu said his organization was primarily involved in educational projects to teach pluralism in the state religious schools, but that it reviewed the contents of the flyers, most of them from right-wing sources, distributed in synagogues on Shabbat.
"We have never seen anything as ugly as this book," added Gvaryahu. "It has already sold out its first edition. It is a ticking bomb."
The petitioners quoted many passages from the book, including the one mentioned above. According to another passage, "There are, nonetheless, situations in which we will want to harm innocents and their availability and death will help us. For example, killing babies belonging to the family of the evil king: They themselves are innocent, but killing them will help us cause pain and injury to [the king] so that he will stop fighting us."
Another section said, "Even if civilians are tied up or imprisoned and have no choice but to stay where they are and serve as hostages, we may trample them and kill them if that is the way to save ourselves from the evil ones, just as we have learned that it is permissible to kill someone who has abetted a murder, even if he was forced to do so."
Gvaryahu said the organizations decided to petition the court after Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz informed them, in response to their demand to remove the books from the shelves, that he had referred the matter for investigation. Gvaryahu said the investigation would take months, but the books had to be removed immediately.