(photo credit: Courtesy)
Three prominent rabbis from Samaria are refusing a summons for police questioning this week, and say that they are being subjected to political intimidation.
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Elon Moreh Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, who was recently chosen as the regional rabbi of Samaria; Rabbi David Dudkewitz of Yitzhar; and Rabbi Yehoshua Schmidt of Shavei Shomron, all of whom head yeshivot in their locales, recently received a summons from Jerusalem police, signed by a junior-level officer and sent without providing a reason for questioning. In a letter of response, the rabbis informed the authorities that they will not be arriving at what looks like a political intimidation interrogation.
“Our door is open to any investigator who comes to our offices or homes and informs us of the matter he would like to investigate us about,” they stated. “We do expect that in the future, it will be clear to every investigator what the required procedure is for investigating rabbis.”
It is believed that the rabbis are wanted for a probe into what might be suspicions of incitement to racism, after announcements in their name were published calling on the public not to employ Arabs, shortly after the terror attack in the Mercaz Harav yeshiva, in which eight students were murdered in March 2008. The summons, sent out a few weeks ago, does not seem directly related to the recent letter signed by various rabbis that prohibits renting or selling land to non-Jews in Israel. But a source close to the affair said that dormant issues can come to life when a related topic captures public attention.
Head of the Samarian Regional Council Gershon Mesika sent an urgent letter to Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch, demanding he order an investigation into the procedures surrounding the summons, which he said “looks like an attempt to impose scare tactics and political threats” and has a “disrespectful format.”
MK Arye Eldad (National Union) backed the call for Aharonovitch to
“investigate whether it is standard procedure to summon public figures
to an interrogation, without telling them what the interrogation is
about, whether the State Prosecutor’s Office ordered the summons, and if
so, who else was summoned, or is this a local initiative of police
investigators, and also whether this step is agreed to by the public
Jerusalem police said in response on Sunday that they were “definitely considering their next steps on this matter.”