They speak of how deeply they identify with the IDF and the state, but as for the law enforcement system – the crisis of confidence is growing deeper.
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"Specific events like these do not change the way we feel about the State. It is our country of that there is no doubt," said 22-year-old David Cohen, "but the authorities, the driving force behind the state – towards them we have major complaints. They need to remember their purpose, why they are there. They have lost their way."
According to Cohen who served in an IDF combat unit like most of the yeshiva students, the investigation hasn't led to a change in the students' motivation to join the military. "It is an integral part of the yeshiva, some might even say the main part and the rabbi pushes us towards that," he stressed.
Rabbi Dov Lior, was arrested three days ago near Jerusalem, he was released after a short interrogation. His arrest led to riots and protests throughout the country at which over 20 supporters were arrested.
The arrest and interrogation also aroused a great deal of criticism towards the police and state prosecution from right-wing factions. In response the state prosecution, internal security minister and later on, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu published messages of support to the law enforcement authorities.
Insult to Jewish stateNow the rabbis' students explain that their feelings of hurt and disappointment stem from the insult to the Torah, and not they say the insult to the rabbi.
"As a yeshiva student I feel very badly over the insult to someone who serves as our mentor but more important than that are my feelings as a citizen," said 29-year-old Yisrael Ganot. "This is a continued insult to rabbis, Jewish values and the fact that the Jewish state that means so much to us is losing its way and veering off the path."
As for the claim that no man is above the law, especially at a time when so many senior public figures have been brought before the courts, Ganot said: "There is no one above the law, but who can investigate the Torah?
"Is there one judge in this generation capable of investigating the Torah? Why are they so afraid of opening up this issue to public debate? Why come out in this fashion and arrest the rabbi? There is no justification."
Yair Shreider, 29, who was injured during Operation Cast Lead while serving in a paratrooper regiment; he was also scornful of the claim. According to Shreider: "The president was arrested and tried for rape, prime ministers were investigated for theft and criminal issues; Rabbi Lior was investigated not for theft, rape or murder. He was investigated over his opinion.
'What about Beersheba professor?'"I have yet to see an arrest warrant or investigation of a professor with a certain opinion. We are a democratic country and every person has a right to express their opinion, as long as they don't break the law."
Shreider who said that he was confident that the issue wouldn't affect enlistment for military service, focused the struggle on the law enforcement authorities.
Rabbi Lior with his students (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
"We have recently had problems with law enforcement authorities. It is a very selective system that is touched by political agendas which are directed against a very certain sector in the population. No one says a word against professors from universities in Beersheba that call on people to break my neck."
The opposition to Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, who is in charge of a team dealing with offenses of freedom of expression, was obvious in the conversation with Shreider.
"The person who gave the order and saw no need to give the same order against the professor and sees fit to brutally hound the rabbi; he is in fact hounding an entire segment of the population. From the moment Shai Nitzan was appointed, we have seen things going in that direction."
As for the opinions expressed in 'The King's Torah', the controversial book, Shreider said he never heard Rabbi Lior address the issue in class. "It is important to understand that the rabbi gives his support to hundreds if not thousands of requests every year.
"Open almost any religious book published for our population and you can find his signature of support. The rabbi doesn't have time to go over the entire content of every book. Personally, I haven't read the book."
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