Rabbi Lior speaking at yeshiva.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
have asked Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, son of Shas spiritual leader Ovadia
Yosef, to arrive at the headquarters of the National Serious and
International Crimes Unit for questioning over his alleged endorsement
of the controversial Torat Hamalech (King's Torah) book on Tuesday, The Jerusalem Post has learned.“This is study-hall discourse,” Yosef's son Yonatan said of Torat Hamelech
on Tuesday. “The Torah itself says much more extreme things – like
those who desecrate Shabbat must be killed. Does that mean that anyone
who reads the weekly portion should be indicted for incitement? Everyone
understands that there is a difference between the text and the
actions; nobody thinks that religious people are going to go out and
kill secular people for not keeping Shabbat.
Rabbi Yosef refused the police's request.
No citizen above the law, says PM on Lior detention
Police on high alert over Rabbi Lior protests
the refusal, Yosef's arrest now appears likely, although it remains
unknown when police plan to bring him into custody.
move comes on the heels of riots in Jerusalem on Monday that were
sparked by the police detainment of Kiryat Arba-Hebron Chief Rabbi Dov
Lior, carried in its wake widespread condemnation over the right-wing
protesters’ disregard for the rule of law.
The rabbis are being investigated under suspicion of incitement for their endorsement of he 2009 book by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, the rabbi of Yitzhar, which gives Jews permission to preemptively kill gentiles under certain conditions in wartime.
“There is no reason for investigators to meddle in halachic issues, and
besides – it’s not rabbis who take people out to war, rather the
government and the army,” said Yosef.
“The whole point of this affair is to isolate the Orthodox population,
and keep it isolated as a law-breaking part of society, though this is
the public that leads the State of Israel,” he said.
Government officials, however, were highly critical of the disturbances
and riots that broke out following Rabbi Lior's arrest, and specifically
of the rabbis' refusal to appear for questioning after being served
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday issued a statement saying,
“Israel is a law-abiding country. The law binds all and all are subject
“I call on all the country’s citizens to obey the law,” the prime minister said.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni said that while she didn’t like to see a
rabbi taken into custody, Israel must preserve equality before the law.
“If we lose that foundation, we will lose the source of authority, which
is the foundation of our joint lives. The Jewish Scriptures also state
that the sovereign’s law is the law, and that tenet accompanied the
Jewish people throughout their exile and must continue to direct us in
the Jewish state,” Livni said.
Ron Friedman contributed to this report