Some 70 leading Zionist-religious rabbis - including city rabbis, yeshiva chiefs and educators - issued a petition Thursday protesting the arrest warrant take out against Rabbi Dov Lior following his refusal to report to a police inquiry in the "King's Torah" affair.
"We see this as a disgrace towards the torah and those who follow it," the petition stated. "This is an attempt to block the rabbis' freedom of expression through severe, unacceptable and anti-democratic measures."
The signatories represent a wide range of influential rabbis in the Zionist-religious society, including: Kiryat Shmona Chief Rabbi Zephaniah Drori, The head of the Bnei Akiva yeshivas and Israel's conversion system Rabbi Haim Drukman, the head of the Ramat Gan hesder yeshiva Rabbi Yehoshua Shapira, Har Bracha's rabbi Eliezer Melamed, Elon Moreh's rabbi and head of the yeshiva there, Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, head of the 'Tzohar' organization Rabbi David Stav and others.
Some of the signatories are divided in their opinions over the book at the center of the affair. Some agree and some disagree with the stance which embroiled Rabbi Lior in the affair. "Signing this petition should in no way be seen as an acceptance of the 'Torat Hamelech' book," the petition stressed.
According to the rabbis, the actions carried out against the rabbis for offences related to freedom of expression – were never taken against leftist intellectuals, in spite of their "extreme expressions against the State and its citizens," they wrote.
They called upon Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Yaakov Ne'eman to "act immediately to revoke the humiliating warrant," ministers and Knesset Members are also called upon to "use all their might to seek the abandonment of this evil."
On Monday, police issued an arrest warrant for the rabbi of Kiryat Arba, after he refused to report for a police inquiry investigating suspicions of incitement in connection with the publication of "King's Torah" in August.
Earlier this week, some of the rabbis who signed the petition condemned the arrest warrant. Rabbi Drukman called the warrant "outrageous" and said that if Rabbi Lior was indeed arrested – police should prepare another detention cell – for him.
"Torat Hamelech" – a halachic review on subjects concerning the killing non-Jews was written by the head of the Yitzhar yeshiva Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira and one of the yeshiva's leading rabbis, Yosef Elizur.
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