Some 1,000 people demonstrated outside the home of Rabbi Dov Lior in Kiryat Arba on Tuesday in protest of the arrest warrant issued against him for suspected incitement.
On Monday, police issued the warrant over the rabbi's refusal to be questioned in relation to the forward he wrote for the book "The King's Torah" which calls for the murder of non-Jews.
The protestors are claiming that the State is trying to silence the rabbi. Among the protestors were Knesset Member Michael Ben-Ari (National Union), members of the Kiryat Arba city council, Women in Green chairwoman Yehudit Katzover and the rabbi's supporters.
Rabbi Lior also attended the rally and slammed the Justice Ministry and State Prosecutor's Office for ordering copies of the books be cleared out of stores.
"It is unacceptable that some junior clerk will dictate the rabbis what to say," he said. "I believe the State of Israel does not have a policy aimed at silencing the rabbis and that is why we call on the prime minister to issue an unequivocal order to stop this stupid persecution."
He further added, "We do not rule out the State of Israel which is a divine miracle, but we have a problem with its conduct." Referring to the arrest warrant he said, "This is a humiliation of the Torah and an attempt to harm rabbis who express their opinions on relevant topics."
The book "The King's Torah", which was written by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, presents war-time conduct rules according to the Torah. Among other things, it noted that anyone who serves as "a human shield for our enemies" can be hurt. Rabbi Lior wrote the forward for the book in which he agreed with the book's content.
Rabbi Lior said during the demonstration that he accepts the rule of law and is not trying to defy the state. "Rabbis are elected representatives who answer questions the public is concerned with. Clearly we do not engage in politics but these are important issues which concern us all directly and we must therefore respond. It is the rabbis' right and duty to express their opinions on these matters. They were elected on this basis until the State declares rabbis are banned from expressing their political opinions."
The Kiryat Arba protestors promised that this was just the beginning of their struggle. "We shall not let the rabbi be touched and will physically block any attempt to do so," Kiryat Arba councilman Bentzi Goffstein said. "This is defiance against the rule of Torah. Torah law precedes state law."
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