Rabbi Dov Lior, the Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Arba and Hevron, and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, son of the Shas party’s spiritual leader, are wanted for questioning about the book The Torah of the King, which was written by Rabbi Yitzchak Shapira, who heads the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in the town of Yitzhar in the Shomron region.
Arutz 7 has learned that Rabbi Lior was summoned and was asked to present himself to police on Monday morning, but chose not to do so. Rabbi Yosef was summoned for Tuesday but is also not planning to attend.
Associates of Rabbi Yosef told Arutz 7 on Monday that "the persecution against Maran (our rabbi) because of an expression of opinion in favor of soldiers during war will not deter him from continuing to educate about guarding the lives of our soldiers and our civilians."
Rabbi Dov Lior’s office said: "The Rabbi will not cooperate with the persecution and the political investigation – the Holy Torah is not up for questioning. At any time and especially during wartime, the morals of the Torah and its leadership should be the 'moral code' of the IDF and of the entire legal system. The attempt to prevent rabbis from expressing Torah-based opinions using fear and intimidation is severe and will not succeed. Our entire right for existence in our country right now – is only because of our holy Torah.”
Rabbi Yitzchak Shapira was arrested two weeks ago and the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva was raided by police officers searching for copies of his book. Some 30 books were found and confiscated.
The Torah of the King deals with Jewish law pertaining to Kings of Israel and the waging of wars, and describes the situations in which a Jew is permitted to kill a non-Jew. The book that was recently published in its second edition does not contain any explicit references to Arabs. The Supreme Court has ruled that the content of the book is not grounds for an investigation against Rabbi Shapira.
A statement published Monday evening on behalf of the two rabbis said that they do not intend to appear for questioning since their position is clear and has already been expressed by Rabbi Shapira. The statements explains that The Torah of the King presents instructions on how to follow the law of the Torah during wartime, using the principle that one should kill those who intend to kill him. Those who are used as a human shield by enemies, said the statement, may be struck in order to protect the lives of civilians and soldiers.
“We appeal to all Jews everywhere to protest against the humiliation of the Torah, and against the government’s violence and mouth shutting,” said the rabbis in the statement.
MK Michael Ben-Ari MK (National Union) also responded to the summoning of the two rabbis and said: "This is a Communist-type persecution and a crossing of lines by [Deputy State Attorney] Nitzan. No one dares to question sheikhs and imams or leftist professors who incite against Israel in the name of freedom of expression."