Rav Lior being carried through the streets after being interrogated by the police

by Adina Kutnicki


(July 5, ’11) Another dangerous phenomenon is developing in Israel. In addition to Israeli nationalists being arrested when attacked by Arabs, rabbis are now being arrested for what would normally be considered basic freedoms within any democracy.

For the ‘crime’ of endorsing (issuing a ‘haskama’), a leading Jewish legal treatise called Torat HaMelech, The King’s Torah, Rabbi Dov Lior, Chief Rabbi of Hebron-Kiryat Arba, was stopped on the highway and arrested last week while driving into Jerusalem.

44 were arrested after Rav Lior and Rav Yosef were taken into custody.

In addition to rushing to Rav Lior’s legal aid, HONENU also defended 29 of his supporters arrested that day for civil disobedience.

A few days later, a clear undemocratic pattern became evident. Rabbi Yaakov Yosef was also apprehended for his approbation of  Torat HaMelech. Once again, hundreds protested and, HONENU was called to assist  the 15 participants who were arrested in the aftermath.

Torat HaMelech, the epicenter of the office of the State Prosecutor’s outrage deals with the issue of wartime, specifically, when is it permissible under Jewish law to shed the blood of non-Jews belonging to the enemy population? Alternatively, the present IDF code attributed toTel Aviv University Professor Asa Kasher has led to the death of hundreds of IDF soldiers. Sadly, Kasher’s “morality code” has never been the subject of serious public debate.

Many showed support for the rabbis over the last week. Another large gathering took place across from the Supreme Court building on Monday. See video. Aside from the blatant violation of the rabbis’ basic freedom of speech, it is patently obvious that acceptable norms within a democratic society are no longer upheld in Israel. Thus, another pressing question becomes-why are rabbis arrested, yet leftist academics, cultural icons and Islamic leaders allowed to voice their  highly inciting opinions, albeit without fear of arrest?

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