70 rabbis protest arrest warrant against Rabbi Dov Lior

Leading national religious rabbis sign protest letter over police's intention to arrest Kiryat Arba chief rabbi for endorsing "Torah Hamelech" book.

February 10, 2011 21:20
2 minute read.
Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, head of the Mercaz Harav yes

Rabbi Yaakov Shapira 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


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Nearly 70 prominent national religious rabbis signed a letter of protest published in a Friday newspaper, over the police’s announced intention to arrest Kiryat Arba Chief Rabbi Dov Lior if he continued to ignore their requests to present himself for questioning about his endorsement of the book Torah Hamelech.

Heads of the some of the leading educational institutions within the sector – including Rabbi Haim Druckman of Or Etzion, Rabbi David Stav of Tzohar and the Petah Tikva hesder yeshiva, Rabbi Elyakim Levanon and Rabbi Eliezer Melamed – defended Lior’s ongoing refusal to be investigated for the rabbinic endorsement (haskama) he gave the book.

Rabbi Lior agrees to be investigated at his home
Yitzhar rabbi suspected of incitement
Shapira's distinction between Jewish, gentile blood

Torat Hamelech, authored by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira and Rabbi Yosef Elitzur of the Od Yosef Hai Yeshiva in Yitzhar, advocates killing innocent non-Jews in certain situations during wartime.

Lior and Rabbi Ya’acov Yosef, son of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, have been publicly refusing the police summons since the summer. Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsberg of Kfar Chabad, who also endorsed Torat Hamelech, appeared for police questioning as requested last year and used the opportunity to explain to police the halachic reasoning behind his support for the book.

On Thursday, Yosef told the Galei Israel radio station that police had also shown up at his house with a warrant, as with Lior, but since nobody was home, they had left the premise without handing it to him.

“We hereby protest the arrest warrant issued by the police and State Attorney’s Office for the arrest of Rabbi Dov Lior,” reads the letter in Friday’s Makor Rishon newspaper.

“To us, this is a disgrace to the Torah and those who study it, an attempt to curb the rabbis’ freedom of expression through severe, unwonted and anti-democratic measures, which were never utilized against intellectuals from the Left, despite extreme sentiment expressed against the state and its citizens,” the rabbis wrote.

“We call upon Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to act to immediately cancel this humiliating order,” they declared.

In a postscript, they added, “This signature does not amount to endorsement of the book Torat Hamelech.”

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