The Israel Police have issued an arrest warrant against Rabbi Dov Lior, one of the most prominent Zionist rabbis and halakhic decision makers, who is Rabbi of Kiryat Arba in the Hevron district, causing furious reactions among religious and nationalist spokespersons.
The warrant was issued after the rabbi refused to come in for questioning regarding the halakhic approbation he wrote at the beginning of a book called Torat HaMelech, which was written by another rabbi. The book discussed the theoretical attitude of Jewish Law toward killing a non-Jew in wartime.
An approbation or "haskama" (literally "consent") from respected rabbis is commonly sought by rabbis who write works of Judaica and its inclusion at the start of this kind of book means only that the halakhic reasoning in it is coherent.
The Commander of the Hevron Police appeared at the rabbi's home a few days ago and informed Rabbi Lior of the arrest warrant against him. The rabbi told the officer that he would not take part in this blatant demeaning of the Torah and would not go to a police interrogation that was meant to "muzzle rabbis."
People close to Rabbi Lior said they were amazed at the chutzpah exhibited by the police and state prosecution, in issuing an arrest warrant against a Torah sage. "The purpose of the investigation, like the investigations against dozens of rabbis in recent months, is to silence people. Those who close police files against leaders in the Arab public who call to destroy the State of Israel, or against leftist professors who call to harm IDF soldiers, should think twice before issuing a warrant against Rabbi Lior."
MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) called the news "scandalous."
"There is a rule of terror here," Ben-Ari said, "and I would like to know where all the leftists who spoke about silencing opinions just a few days ago have gone." Ben-Ari called the warrant an instance of "McCarthyism" and said it was reminiscent of dark regimes.
The grassroots Council of Binyamin and Samaria Residents said the warrant was "a declaration of war by the State Prosecution against the Jewish faith and its standard bearers."
"This warrant is a slap in the face of generations of the Jewish nation... We call upon whoever cares about the Jewish character of his nation to get up and resist - even physically - the wild and anti-Jewish act."