(photo credit: Od Yosef Chai)
Police arrested Rabbi Yosef Elizur-Hershkowitz from Yitzhar before dawn
Thursday on suspicion of incitement to racial violence, possession of
texts, and possession of material that incites to violence.
Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, also from the Yitzhar settlement near Nablus,
Hamelech (The King’s Torah), a book that discusses the rules of war. In
say it is permissible to kill young children if it is foreseeable that
grow up to be mortal enemies of the Jews, or to put pressure on an enemy
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Hours after Elizur-Hershkowitz’s arrest, the Rishon Lezion
Magistrate’s Court released him and criticized police for failing to invite him
to a local police station for questioning before resorting to an
Adi Kedar, Elizur’s attorney, who is a member of the Honenu
organization, which represents Israelis who “are confronted with legal
relating to their personal commitment to the struggle for the Land of
slammed police over the arrest, saying that “neither police nor the
the authority to deal with theological in-depth studies.”
also criticized by the Samaria Citizens’ Committee, which described it
“transparent attempt by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) to create
The book has triggered controversy since
published in 2009, and police questioned Shapira over the texts last
while raiding the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in Yitzhar to confiscate
Dov Lior, the chief rabbi of Hebron and Kiryat Arba and
of the Rabbinical Committee of the Council of Jewish Communities, and
Ya’acov Yosef, son of Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef, provided
for the book, and refused requests by the police’s National Serious and
International Crimes Unit to arrive for questioning at the unit’s Lod
Headquarters earlier this month.
Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg, head of
Yosef Chai yeshiva who wrote a three-page endorsement for the book, used
police questioning to say that the book’s conclusions are not practical
but rather in the realm of hypotheses and principles of Halacha.
of primarily national- religious rabbis took part in a convention “in
the Torah and its independence” on Wednesday, following Lior and Yosef’s
summoning by police.
Without endorsing the content of the book,
participants maintained that police should not get involved in matters
pertaining to halachic discourse.
Senior figures such as Ramat
Rabbi Ya’acov Ariel and Rabbi Haim Druckman, head of the Ohr Etzion
were also present at the event.Jonah Mandel also contributed to this report.