Daily Israel Report
More

Zion's Corner Blogs


Rabbi Ariel Arrested, Released

Rabbi Yisrael Ariel [left], Jerusalem Temple Institute founder, was arrested for several hours today because of a letter he wrote recommending that an IDF officer not be called up to the Torah.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 12/7/2006, 12:47 PM / Last Update: 12/7/2006, 11:54 AM

Rabbi Ariel is a member of the seven-man leadership council of the recently-formed "Sanhedrin" in Jerusalem. Today's arrest is connected with the administrative orders forbidding some 20 men of Judea and Samaria from living in their homes for between three and twelve months. Signed on the original orders was an IDF Prosecution officer who lives in one of the Binyamin area communities.



The Sanhedrin Rabbinical Court summoned the officer to appear before the court for a Din Torah - a Torah trial - to explain why he issued the orders seemingly in contrast to Torah law. The officer repeatedly refused to show up, and the Court considered taking the measures usually taken in such cases: placing the subject in herem, or excommunicating him. However, in the event, the Court, of which Rabbi Ariel is a leading member, merely sent a letter to the IDF officer's community's secretariat recommending that he not be called up to the Torah until he complies with the Court's order.

Rabbi Ariel then underwent a similar experience. The police called him two or three times, informing him that he must show up for questioning on this matter. The rabbi said he would be willing to be questioned, but not at the police station. Finally, five policemen showed up at his door today, with an order for the rabbi's arrest. They took him to the Russian Compound in Jerusalem.

"The orders said 'arrest warrant,'" Mrs. Ariel later told Arutz-7, "but the leading investigator who came said that it was really not an arrest warrant."

Adding to the confusion, someone who later phoned Rabbi Ariel told this story: "I was able to reach him in the police station. I asked him if he was under arrest, and he said no. Suddenly, I heard someone yelling in the background, 'What are you doing on the phone?! You can't do that, you're under arrest!' And then the phone went dead."

Rabbi Ariel was released around three hours after he was arrested.

Another member of the Sanhedrin, Professor Hillel Weiss, was recently questioned by police, for five hours, on similar matters.

Rabbi Ariel was the head of the Hesder Yeshiva in the Sinai city of Yamit until the city was emptied and destroyed in 1982 in fulfillment of the peace treaty with Egypt. He served in the paratroopers unit that liberated the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall in the Six-Day War of 1967.