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Yaakov Neeman
Photo: Yaron Brener
Rabbi Dov Lior
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Rightists confront justice minister at holy site
Rabbi Lior's followers accost Yaakov Neeman at Cave of Patriarchs, demand he apologize for arrest

Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman arrived at the Cave of Patriarchs in Heborn for morning prayers Thursday and was confronted by a band of rightists protesting the arrest of Rabbi Dov Lior.

 

The protesters, led by extreme rightists Noam Federman and Itamar Ben-Gvir, demanded that Neeman apologize to the rabbi for supporting his arrest. Lior was detained following his endorsement of a book that justifies the killing of non-Jews in times of war.

 

  "You have insulted the Torah," protesters called out, as well as "Arrest sheikhs and professors".

 

Neeman and some 40 other worshippers left the holy site, and no injuries were reported. But Ben-Gvir approached the minister and complained of "ongoing discrimination".

 

Soon after, the Masorti Movement condemned the protest. Director Yizhar Hess said "the banishment of Minister Neeman from morning prayers testifies to the danger embodied by a public that dared attack the Supreme Court when police arrested Dov Lior".

 

"Jewish fundamentalism, wherever it occurs, is dangerous to Israel's future," Hess said.

 

Rabbi Dov Lior, a major figure in the national religious movement and the chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba, was arrested Monday near Jerusalem and later released after a short interrogation.

 

His arrest prompted riots by his followers, and more than 20 were arrested. In response, a number of state authorities published statements saying all citizens are equal before the law, and that rabbis are no exception.

 

 

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