Rabbis and State Attorney’s Office officials meet

Meeting hosted by Dep. State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, who was behind the arrests of Rabbi Lior, others over endorsement of 'Torat Hamelech.'

By JONAH MANDEL
August 5, 2011 05:03
2 minute read.
Attorney Shai Nitzan

Shai Nitzan 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

A delegation of national religious rabbis met on Wednesday with senior representatives of the State Attorney’s Office in the Justice Ministry, in the wake of the tensions between the sides that peaked with the arrest of Rabbi Dov Lior in the end of June.

The meeting was hosted by Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, who as head of “special tasks” in the office was behind the arrests of Lior and other rabbis, who were taken in for questioning over their rabbinic endorsement of the book Torat Hamelech.

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Nitzan, who himself is part of the national religious sector, was the target of the Right’s anger over the arrests but also over the legal actions that are taken against issues such as contested Jewish construction in the West Bank or settler activities against Arabs there.

Demonstrations were held outside his home, and he and his family were subject to verbal threats.

Head of the Bnei Akiva yeshivot Rabbi Haim Druckman and rabbis Elisha Vishlitzky and Micha Halevi met with Nitzan, along with deputy state prosecutors Raz Nizri and Shuki Lamberger, as well as Military Advocate General Maj.-Gen. Avichai Mandelblit, in what a Justice Ministry announcement described as “an open atmosphere” full of “mutual respect.”

“Naturally, full understandings were not reached on all the issues in disagreement, but a principled, extensive and fertile dialogue was established,” the announcement read.



“It’s a very initial stage of the process,” said Haim Falk, an Ofra resident and prominent figure in the national religious sector who was part of the meeting. “Both sides expressed pain and a lack of trust. From our side, it was toward the conduct of the State Attorney’s Office toward the settlement movement, and the atmosphere of selective enforcement.”

“From their side,” continued Falk, “there was great anger over the fact that there is legitimacy- in-silence to turning the State Attorney’s Office to a group of evil rogues; they expected the rabbis to do what they could to lower the tensions, and promote understanding.”

The meeting was a result of a lesson taught by Rabbi Elisha Vishlitzky, who heads the Mahut (essence) Beit Midrash, in which he talked about the attitude you take to a person you do not like, Falk said. At the end of the lesson, a member of the military prosecutor’s office asked Vishlitzky if he’d be willing to meet with Nitzan.

Falk noted the fact that the attendants had agreed to meet again, when asked if any concrete resolutions had been reached.

“All the participants noted the special significance of holding the meeting in the days between the beginning of the month of Av and its ninth day,” said the announcement, referring to the period of time when, according to tradition, the Temples were desecrated due to unwarranted hatred between Jews some 2,000 years ago. The announcement also noted that further such dialogue would continue soon.


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