Rabbis refuse questioning over war book

"Our holy Torah will not be subject to interrogation!"

August 10, 2010 02:02
1 minute read.
Rabbi Yaakov Yosef

Rabbi 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Two prominent rabbis from the national-religious camp refused police requests on Monday that they undergo questioning for their endorsements of a controversial book authored by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira of the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar.

The book, Torat Hamalech (The King’s Torah), discusses the rules of war and states that in certain situations, non-Jews can be killed. The book has attracted a firestorm of controversy since being published in 2009, and police questioned Shapira over the text last month while raiding his yeshiva, Od Yosef Chai, in Yitzhar in order to confiscate copies.

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Rabbi Dov Lior of Kiryat Arba and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, son of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, endorsed the book and were summoned by the police’s National Serious and International Crimes (NSCIC) Unit for questioning at its Lod Headquarters.

But in a joint statement issued on Monday, the rabbis said they would not show up for questioning.

‘Our holy Torah will not be subject to interrogation!” the statement read. “The attempt to prevent the rabbis of Israel from expressing their opinion, the opinion of the Torah, through intimidation and threats is a most severe act and will not succeed. Authorities that act this way join the authorities of evil that have banned the study of Torah and lifted up their hand against the Torah of Israel.”

The rabbis defended the book, describing it as “the real instruction guide on the rules of warfare according to our holy Torah.”

Responding to the statement, a police spokesman told The Jerusalem Post on Monday evening that the authorities would “not discuss an ongoing investigation.”

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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