Dozens of rabbis and religious-Zionist yeshiva heads published a petition slamming the arrest of Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira in connection with the torching of a Palestinian mosque.
A judge ordered Wednesday that Shapira be released from detention, but police officials appealed the decision. The Yitzhar rabbi was eventually freed following a court hearing Thursday afternoon.
The rabbis' petition slams the manner in which a "leading rabbi…is thrown into prison in a humiliating manner" and characterizes the arrest as a "very grave act."
The protesting rabbis say that the latest detainment joins "the aggressive and dangerous trend of silencing rabbis and closing down yeshivas."
The angry rabbis, which include the chief rabbis of Israeli communities as well as religious leaders belonging to the moderate rightist camp, slammed authorities for dishonoring both Rabbi Shapira and the Torah.
"Woe is us for having a state that does not appreciate and honor men of letters and education," the petition read.
The rabbis who signed the petition include Safed's Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Har Bracha Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, Kiryat Shmona's Chief Rabbi Tsfania Drori, Kiryat Arba Chief Rabbi Dov Lior, and Elon Moreh Chief Rabbi Elyakim Levanon.
On Wednesday, Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Judge Anat Zinger ruled that Rabbi Shapira should be released, while criticizing the police for having no hint of a reason for extending the rabbi's detention. The rabbi's supporters demonstrated outside the court during the hearing.