Rabbi Shapira, no grounds for remand
Photo: Noam Moskowitz
Supporters protest outside courthouse
Photo: Noam Moskowitz
Graffiti left in Yasuf mosque last month
Photo: AFP

Rabbi arrested over mosque arson to be released

Jerusalem Magistrate's Court criticizes police, saying they have no grounds for arrest of Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, who police believe knew who was behind fire at Yasuf mosque last month but withheld information

The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Wednesday released Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, head of the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva near Yitzhar, who was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of involvement in the arson of the mosque in the Palestinian village of Yasuf last month.


He is suspected to have had knowledge that a number of students from his yeshiva were responsible for the fire and failing to report this to the police.


The implementation of the ruling was delayed until 10:30 pm, to allow the police time to appeal the decision.


In the decision, Judge Anat Singer criticized the police and said they had no grounds for a remand extension. The rabbi's supporters protested outside the courthouse.


During the hearing, the police representative said that Rabbi Shapira was suspected of refusing to testify and obstructing the investigation. The rabbi's lawyer Naftali Werzberger said he was under no obligation to report anything.


The lawyer added that the police are trying to use Shapira as a tool in their investigation, "and it is shameful that they are forcing a teacher to tell on his students."


The police representative argued that Shapira is believed to have information on the culprits, and requested his remand be extended five days.


Rabbi Shapira's other lawyer, Attorney Adi Keidar from the Honenu Organization, told Ynet that the rabbi denies any connection to the event and is not cooperating with his investigators.


According to Keidar, the rabbi told the detectives that his refusal to help the investigation progress stems from what he called "Israel Police's conduct and attitude towards the rabbis recently."


Dozens of settlers arrived at the Shin Bet facility to support the rabbi Tuesday evening. Knesset Member Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said during the rally that the police's conduct was redolent of "dark, oppressive regimes".


Last week, a number of suspects from Yitzhar were arrested, including some yeshiva students, on suspicions of being involved in torching in the mosque in the nearby Palestinian village, as well as other offenses. Five of them – three minors and two young men from two yeshivas in the area – are still being detained.


Remand of all of the detainees was extended until Thursday, when it will be clarified whether or not an affidavit will be submitted on their behalf prior to the issuance of indictments.


פרסום ראשון: 01.27.10, 16:45
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