Rabbi Lior speaking at yeshiva.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Police 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 Hamalekh (King's Torah) book on Tuesday, the Jerusalem Post has learned.Should the arrest take place, it will almost certainly result in
demonstrations by followers of the rabbi and disturbances. Clashes
between right-wing activists and police erupted on Monday, following the
detainment and questioning of Kiryat Arba Chief Rabbi Dov Lior, who
also allegedly endorsed the book.
Rabbi Yosef turned down the police's request.
No citizen above the law, says PM on Lior detention
Police on high alert over Rabbi Lior protests
Following the refusal, Yosef's arrest now appears likely, although it remains unknown when police plan to bring him into custody.
Lior's arrest and release on Monday was followed by disturbances outside the Supreme Court, and road blockages by right-wing activists at the entrance to Jerusalem.
The rabbis are being investigated under suspicion of incitement for
their endorsement of the 2009 book by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, the rabbi of
Yitzhar, which gives Jews permission to preemptively kill gentiles
under certain conditions in wartime.
"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?"
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.
Ron Friedman and JPost Staff contributed to this report