VIDEO - Rabbi Dov Lior's supporters are satisfied with protests held
Monday following his arrest and warn authorities violence will exacerbate if he is placed in custody again.
"This was a successful display of power and I think our message came across," one of the organizers of the protest said.
A total of 25 people were arrested Monday.
"There's a limit to how far we will be stepped on," he said. "Had Rabbi Lior still been under arrest, lives would have been lost. We would have thrown garbage cans and Molotov cocktails on government offices. Any arrest of Rabbi Lior will prompt large-scale protests in the immediate time frame."
He said that had Rabbi Lior been remanded, the protest would have turned into a rebellion.
"There's an instruction by the yeshiva heads on this matter to do anything it takes, a free hand," he added.
The man further added: "Now, after the disengagement, there is no moderate element like the Yesha Council which has control over the street. We are the street and out reactions follow police behavior.
"To throw stones at the Supreme Court is only a matter of decision. Rabbi Ovadia (Yosef) and Rabbi Eliyashiv would not have been treated this way, so why are they acting this way towards Rabbi Lior? If they have no red lines, neither should we." Police refused to comment.
Rabbi Lior arrived in the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem Monday after celebrating with 300 of his supporters at the entrance to the capital. Clashes subsequently broke out outside the yeshiva after police arrested several right-wing elements.
Police said that two officers were attacked and lightly wounded when the rabbi's supporters headed towards the yeshiva. Dozens of protestors tried to block police cars.
"To accuse rabbis, who wrote something on Torah research, of inciting to violence and racism is a feature of a barbaric world," Rabbi Lior said in the yeshiva.
Rabbi Lior surrounded by supporters in Jerusalem (Photo: Noam Moskowitz)
"Torah does not need consent," he noted. "We see there are attacks on scholars, things being concocted to smear them. Divine intervention will eventually rescue them. We have wonderful youth, this will spur the young generation to climb up the Torah stairs."
"The development of Torah literature continues, and those writing books do not need the consent of someone telling them whether they can be published or not. What do scholars have to do with violence?"
|Celebrations in Jerusalem (Video: Avi Peretz)|
Earlier, Israel's chief rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar issued a joint statement Monday condemning the arrest of Kiryat Arba Rabbi Dov Lior.
"We regret the grave offence to an important rabbi's honor. He is one of Israel's greatest rabbis and leaders of the religious public," the statement said. The two also noted that they conveyed their protest to public leaders.
However, Metzger and Amar urged restraint on the part of the public. "Do not get dragged into conflicts and frictions which will lead to a public division," they said.
Rabbi Lior's arrest sparked enormous outrage by
right-wing elements in Israel. Shortly after the arrest, hundreds of protestors blocked the entrance to Jerusalem, and several were arrested.
Later on Monday, hundreds tried to break into the Supreme Court compound and were blocked by police. They held a rally at a nearby road later on.
In total, police arrested 17 protestors on Monday.
Some 20 protestors gathered outside the home of Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, who ordered the arrest. Two were arrested when trying to enter the house. Nitzan is currently overseas.
Meanwhile, many Knesset members are also outraged over the arrest. Twenty-five MKs signed a petitioned calling for an end to the persecution of rabbis which will be presented to Justice Minister Yaakov Ne'eman. The MKs claimed Attorney Shai Nitzan was "degrading the police."
"The very implementation of the shameful arrest must serve as a warning sign and promote an overhaul in the work of Deputy State Prosecutor Attorney Shai Nitzan."
The petition was signed by Coalition chairman Ze'ev Elkin, David Rotem, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, Arieh Eldad, Yariv Levin, Uri Ariel, Zvulun Orlev and others.
Yair Altman, Kobi Nahshoni, Omri Efraim and Oran Azulay contributed to this report