Rabbi Yaakov Yosef arrested for suspected incitement

Son of Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef rejected police summons last week for investigation into his endorsement of 'Torat Hamelech,' which endorses the killing of gentiles; MK Ben-Ari slams arrest.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, JONAH MANDEL
July 3, 2011 07:29
2 minute read.
Rabbi Ya'acov Yosef.

rabbi yaacov yosef_311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Police arrested Rabbi Yaakov Yosef on Sunday morning. Last Tuesday, Rabbi Yosef, son of Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef, turned down a police summons calling on him to come to the headquarters of the National Serious and International Crimes Unit in Lod for questioning over his alleged endorsement of the controversial Torat Hamelech (The King’s Torah) book, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Yosef was stopped and arrested while traveling on Route 1 in Jerusalem, Army Radio reported.

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MK Michael Ben-Ari said of the arrest, "The police has proved that it is strong enough to arrest rabbis, lovers of Israel, and to humiliate them," Israel Radio reported.

"When will [police] begin fighting criminals and anarchists," the National Union MK added.

Shortly after news broke of the rabbi's arrest, police reported that tires were thrown onto the main Jerusalem highway near Rehov Haim Bar-Lev inside the city. No disruptions to traffic were reported.

On Thursday, hundreds of yeshiva students gathered in Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Shmuel Hanavi within minutes as a rumor raced through the neighborhood that police cars were outside Yosef’s house and his arrest was imminent.

Clashes between right-wing activists and police erupted on Monday at the entrance to Jerusalem and near the Supreme Court building following the short detention and questioning that day of Kiryat Arba-Hebron Chief Rabbi Dov Lior, who also allegedly endorsed the 2009 book.

Torat Hamelech, by the rabbi of the Yitzhar settlement, Yitzhak Shapira, gives Jews permission to preemptively kill gentiles under certain conditions in wartime.

Government officials, however, were highly critical of the rabbis’ refusal to obey the summons.

“Israel is a law-abiding country. The law binds all, and all are subject to it,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in a statement issued on Tuesday. “I call on all the country’s citizens to obey the law.”

In a speech to new senior police officers on Wednesday, Israel Police Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino addressed the issue of tension with elements within the national-religious camp, saying, “The condition for rule of law is equal enforcement of the law, an enforcement that does not discriminate against anyone and does not prefer anyone. All civilians are equal before the law. Therefore, we will continue to carry out our missions and pursue investigations against any suspect without shame or fear.”

Touching on the blockage of roads carried out by activists on Monday in response to Lior’s arrest, Danino said he would not tolerate “an entire public being forced to pay the price and wait for hours on the roads. We won’t allow disturbances of the peace and a blocking of the roads.


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