Rabbi Yosef refuses police summons for questioning

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's son is last of rabbis who endorsed 'Torat Hamelech' to ignore police summons; arrest now appears likely.

By JONAH MANDEL
June 29, 2011 14:24
1 minute read.
Rabbi Lior speaking at yeshiva

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.

Rabbi Yosef turned down the police's request.

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Following the refusal, Yosef's arrest now appears likely, although it remains unknown when police plan to bring him into custody.

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.

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 with summons.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday issued a statement saying, “Israel is a law-abiding country. The law binds all and all are subject to it.”

“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


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