Rav Yosef Ginsburg, Gadol Hador, the best heir of the Lubavitcher Rebbe...
...And Rav Dov Lior, Dayan, dedicated, indefatigable community leader
Rabbi Refuses to Be Questioned
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."
Rabbi Dances and Sings after Police Questioning
Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburg, head of the Ohd Yosef Chai (Joseph Still Lives) yeshiva in Samaria, danced and sang with his students Monday after he was questioned by police in central Israel over a book in which he wrote a preface.
Rabbi Ginsburg told Israel National News TV that the police don’t even know what is written in the book, which raised suspicions among authorities that he was inciting followers. The volume is entitled "Torat HaMelech" and was written by Rabbi Yitzchak Shapira.
The book tries to show “the public, and especially soldiers in the army, the true ethics of self-defense according to the Torah,” he said. His message also is that people should “not be led astray and endanger lives of soldiers because of false ethical morals that are not coming from a Jewish place.”
The book includes in depth explanation of self-defense according to Torah and the importance of a Jewish soldier saving his life or the life of a fellow Jew even if the consequence is killing those who threaten Jewish lives. Rabbi Shapira has already been questioned and released without any charges being laid.
Rabbi Ginsburg said that one lesson to be drawn from the questioning by police is that “we have to clarify ourselves even better and we have to reach the general public. We have to address and relate to the public in pleasant ways in order to give the light of the Torah and the true ethics of the Torah to the general public and the whole world."
The Ohd Yosef Chai yeshiva is located near Shechem, where the Biblical Joseph was sent by his father Yaakov to meet his brothers who were shepherding flocks. The yeshiva is named after Joseph. Yaakov exclaimed his son still was alive after his brothers sold him to Egypt and then brought false evidence to their father to show he has been killed by an animal.
IDF Sending Har Bracha Yeshiva Soldiers Back to Jail
Chaim Yehuda Greenwald, a tank soldier, was sentenced Wednesday to 27 more days in jail. Greenwald has already served several periods in prison since he refused to change yeshivas.
Two other soldiers from the yeshiva, serving in the Kfir Brigade, were sentenced this week to 20 days on probation if they do not agree to leave Har Bracha.
Report: Police Use Tear Gas to Arrest 40 Jewish Girls on March
The 'Hebrew Cities March', which began on Monday, aimed at marching to the historically Jewish cities of Shechem and Jericho, abandoned by the IDF in recent years. Dozens of marchers have been arrested over the course of the week at various stages of the march.
One of the marchers, a teen-aged girl who spoke to Arutz-Sheva from a closed military vehicle without air conditioning, said that the arrest was carried out while she and the other participants were marching on Israeli territory, without a warrant and without warning.
"Suddenly, the soldiers attacked us, threw us on the floor and started beating us, dragged us into a hot army jeep. Some of the girls received burns from contact with the jeep," said the girl, who was in the jeep along with seven of her friends.
Last 3 Jericho Marchers Released from Detention
The three required medical treatment and were taken to Hadassah Hospital on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus.
Rabbis to Assert Torah's Independence Before Police
Hundreds of rabbis and Torah leaders from the entire spectrum of the religious-Zionist and hareidi-religious sectors are expected to take part in the protest, which will take place in the Ramada Renaissance Hotel. "Regardless of the content of the book at hand, the nation of Torah scholars' independence to express their opinions in matters of Torah cannot be agreed to under any circumstances," the organizers state.
The rally is being held a week after Rabbi Dov Lior, the Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Arba-Hevron, and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef were summoned by police for questioning regarding their approbations for a Torah work entitled “Torah HaMelekh” (the Torah of the King). The work’s author, Rabbi Yitzchak Shapira, was arrested in his home in the middle of the night two weeks ago, and was released several hours later. The police confiscated 33 copies of the book from his home, and another copy during a raid of the publisher’s home in Amona.
In addition, a contributor to the work was also summoned for questioning. Attorney Shai Nitzan of the State Prosecution announced that the investigations will continue.
Rabbis Lior and Yosef refused to show up for the questioning, but their very summons has elicited a storm of protest in the religious world. Dozens of rabbis have signed a proclamation saying, “Our holy Torah is not to be questioned! The attempt to prevent rabbis of Israel from expressing their Torah opinions is very grave, and will not succeed. A regime that acts in this manner joins evil regimes that forbade Torah study and lifted their hand against the Torah of Israel…
"The work Torat HaMelekh explains simple issues such as ‘If one comes to kill you, arise to kill him first,’ and that one many strike out a ‘human shields’ in order to protect our own citizens and soldiers… We call on Jews everywhere to protest this degradation of Torah and to come out against the governmental violence and shutting of mouths. We pray that we will speedily merit the fulfillment of our prayer to restore our judges as of old and raise the horn of the righteous in Jerusalem.”
Among the more than 50 signatories are Rabbi Meir Mazouz, Rabbi She'ar-Yashuv Cohen, Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed, Rabbi Yechezkel Yaakobson, Rabbi Shmuel Tal, Rabbi Uri Cohen, Rabbi Yoel Katan, Rabbi Moshe Tzuriel, Rabbi Tzefania Drori, Rabbi Sholom Gold, and many other well-known rabbis.
Rabbi Chaim Druckman, head of the Yeshivot Bnei Akiva movement, has asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to revoke the summons to Rabbis Lior and Yosef.
Rabbi Yehuda Mualem, head of the Sephardi-hareidi Yeshivat Porat Yosef is among the rabbis who have expressed support for the Wednesday gathering.
The Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva explains on its website that the work Torah HaMelekh is a “serious Halakhic elucidation according to the time-honored tradition of Torah study, by rabbis who dealt with the matter in great depth, as great rabbis wrote in their approbations… The main subject of the book is the waging of war according to our holy Torah. For instance, the book states that in the event that the enemy uses innocent people as ‘human shields,’ it is permitted and even obligatory to harm them in order to save our citizens or soldiers. Claims that this is a type of incitement are laughable; this is how the eternal Torah guides us in accordance with its rules of ethics."
The yeshiva’s statement adds that Israel’s current legal establishment’s standards of behavior in this field are “distorted to the point that in many cases, soldiers and officers find themselves accused in court after having acted appropriately to defend Israeli lives. This approach has led to the spilling of Jewish blood, of both soldiers and citizens, and therefore it is important to publicize and explain these matters specifically now.”
Despite (Because of?) Rabbis’ Rally, Another Rabbi is Arrested
Rabbi Yossi Elitzur, a contributing author to the controversial Torah work Torat HaMelekh (Torah of the King), was arrested around 2:30 this morning in his hometown of Yitzhar, in the Shomron (Samaria). So reports the Honenu civil rights organization.
The arrest followed by just a few hours a show of strength by hundreds of rabbis, who gathered in Jerusalem last night to protest the arrest and/or interrogation of Torah scholars because of their Torah opinions. The police are demanding 5,000 shekels in bail for Rabbi Elitzur's release; he will be brought to court in Rishon LeTzion at 11:30 this morning.
The case began nearly four weeks ago, when the work's author, Rabbi Yitzchak Shapiro, was arrested in the middle of the night in his home in Yitzhar. The police also confiscated 33 copies of the book, which discusses the legal aspects of life-and-death issues between Jews and non-Jews, especially in times of war. The rabbi was released after several hours.
Two weeks later, least two other rabbis were summoned for questioning for having given approbations to the book. Neither of the two, Rabbi Dov Lior and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, showed up for questioning – but the very summons infuriated a large sector of the rabbinical world. Last night’s event was the result, at which leading rabbis asserted that the Torah and rabbis’ scholarly opinions thereof are immune to police investigations.
Despite, or because of, the event, the police have now proceeded to arrest Rabbi Elitzur, for the second time. He was taken to the offices of the Serious and International Crimes Unit in Lod.
The State Prosecution was reportedly surprised to learn that relatively “moderate” rabbis also took part in last night’s protest. Even Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, though he did not take part, expressed support, telling Arutz-7, “I oppose a situation in which a rabbi writes a letter of blessing or approbation for a Torah work, and then is accused or taken for questioning.” He said that he does not necessarily support the publication of the book, “because those who are not Torah scholars could misunderstand what is written there… But I suggest that the police come to the Chief Rabbinate for explanations about the significance of an approbation and suffice with that.”
Rabbi Metzger further remarked on the double standard applied by the police, in that “university professors express anti-Zionist, anti-Israeli, and anti-Jewish positions, and support Bishara, Hanin Zouabi and other enemies of Israel, and are allowed to do this in the name of democracy and freedom of expression.”