Humiliation, not law enforcement. Rabbi Dov Lior
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Why was the rabbi detained?

Op-ed: Rabbi Lior’s arrest had nothing to do with rule of law, was meant to convey message

The affair involving the arrest and interrogation of Rabbi Dov Lior has nothing to do with matters of law and order. The same was true when Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, who wrote the “King’s Torah” book, was cuffed by police. Both moves were meant to humiliate the rabbis rather than to enforce the law.


After all, there was no real need to interrogate Rabbi Lior. His words in the book are open and he does not deny writing them. Hence, any legal decision regarding his actions can be taken without him present. The demand to probe him, at a police station of all places, was a belligerent provocation by Attorney Shai Nitzan, who for years now has been leading a McCarthy-like hunt against Jewish settlers in Judea and Samaria.


Nitzan, Israel’s deputy state prosecutor, was tasked with enforcing the law among “the settlers” during the era of leftist governments here – to that end, a committee was established headed by him and featuring various officials, including the Shin Bet chief, the Civil Administration head and the police chief. The current government continued the tradition and allows this committee to function, even though its very existence is not quite a democratic act.


Shai Nitzan himself is the graduate of a high school yeshiva, yet he was taken captive by the school of thought stressing the rule of law’s supremacy. As a man of Jewish tradition he feels he must, more than others, prove that the law is above all else.


After all, he knows that Rabbi Shapira’s “King’s Torah” book calls for the killing of non-Jewish civilians only when they hide terrorists, a move that was accepted by the IDF for many years before the High Court banned it. What was the ruling based on? The Court assumed authority and made the ruling without amending the law, thereby risking the lives of IDF soldiers instead of the lives of enemy civilians.


Nitzan also knows that the book in question calls for adopting the “neighbor procedure” – that is, sending Arab neighbors to the door of a wanted terrorist instead of risking the lives of IDF troops. Here too the High Court assumed the authority to decide to endanger the lives of IDF soldiers instead of the terrorist’s neighbors.


Nitzan also knows that Rabbi Lior is a great religious ruler and that by endorsing the book he confirmed that the writer is worthy and that the book was written in line with the spirit of Judaism and Jewish Law. Hence, utilizing the police in this matter had a clear objective: No one in the country should dare give Jewish fundamentals precedence over the laws of the High Court.


This was done while on the horizon we see the possibility that the IDF will again be utilized to harm settlers and raze communities, and again we may see rabbis urging soldiers not to follow such orders.


The writer is the chairman of the Samaria settlers committee



פרסום ראשון: 06.30.11, 18:13
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