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Rabbi Dov Lior Photo: Noam Moscowitz
Rabbi Dov Lior Photo: Noam Moscowitz

Rabbis to get immunity?

New bill seeks to absolve rabbis of criminal responsibility, make them immune to legal action

Roni Sofer
Published: 02.16.11, 23:42 / Israel News

Knesset members from Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism and National Union submitted a bill that would grant immunity to rabbis against criminal indictment.


The proposal, known as the "Rabbi Dov Lior bill," was formulated in the wake of a probe launched against rabbi Lior on suspicions of incitement. The affair pertains to the publication of a book that endorses the killing of non-Jews.


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The bill notes that it stemmed from "a grave sense in the world of Torah that some law enforcement elements aim to prevent Israel's rabbis from issuing the Torah view on matters on the agenda,:


The new legislative proposal was initiated by Knesset Member Michael Ben Ari and endorsed by nine Knesset members.


The bill asserts that "rabbis will not bear criminal responsibility and be immune to any legal action as result of the publication of a Jewish law essay, endorsement of any book, or any written or oral expression pertaining to Israel's Torah."


The bill emerged in the wake of the recent demand for probes against rabbis, including the rabbi of the town of Tzfat who urged followers to avoid selling and leasing homes to Arabs.


The bill further asserts that "it's impossible that rabbis…as result of laws limiting freedom of expression, would refrain from issuing religious edicts or distort ancient Jewish law as result of their fear of the prosecutor's office."


The Knesset members promoting the bill also claim that "Israel's laws grant immunity to negative elements such as MKs Hanin Zoabi and Ahmad Tibi, so it would be proper to grant immunity to the chief rabbis, city rabbis, and neighborhood rabbis."



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