Thousands of protestors arrived in Jerusalem in a massive show of support for Rabbis Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef who were arrested last week for their endorsement of the King's Torah – a book said to encourage the killing of non-Jews.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop
Speaking at the event, Rabbi Lior declared that "the role of rabbis is to guide and instruct the public."
"By us the prosperity of the Torah and uniqueness of the Torah have not been bridled. The role of Israel's rabbis is to explain the Torah," he said.
Those calling for participation in the protest include rabbis who endorse the King's Torah book and others oppose it but who object in principle to the arrest and interrogation of rabbis for expressing halachic opinion. Rabbi Haim Drukman, a senior rabbi in the religious Zionist camp who is considered a moderate not anti-establishment rabbi, is among those calling on the public to come out and protest.
"I object to the contents of the book, but that isn't the issue, the issue is summons for questioning….I would like to make it clear, rabbis are not above the law, and if this were a criminal issue they must be interrogated no less than others," the rabbi said.
Rabbi Drukman claimed that there are double standards at the root of the allegations that the endorsement of the King's Torah is incitement.
"People speak from their point of superiority about the rule of law but their law is selective – left-wing professors and intellectuals are never investigated, though they speak real words of incitement, outrageous statements that have nothing to do with their academic work."
He mentioned statements made by renowned academic Professor Zeev Sternhell who said that terrorists should aim their weapons at settlements and claimed that only those willing to march on the settlement of Ofra with tanks would be able to stop the fascist wave threatening to drown Israeli democracy. Rabbi Drukman said: "Is this not incitement to murder? Has anyone called him in for questioning?
Meanwhile, Vice President of the Israel Democracy Institute Professor Yedidia Stern has rejected those opposed to the arrest of the rabbis and their interrogation.
"If a warrant for arrest is issued, no one can say no, and it is forbidden in principle to refuse to present oneself for questioning even if according to Rabbi Lior's view, Torah is not an issue to be investigated."
Koby Nachshoni and Aviel Magnezi contributed to the report
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook