Religion, when it gains power over the State, legitimates the worst evils. Be it in Iran or Israel. But in Israel there is no mass opposition to the rulers. On the contrary there is a solid civilian consensus behind its treatment of Arabs.
So when the Orthodox Rabbi Yitzhak Shapiro, who has just written a book ‘Torat Hamelech’ on why killing non-Jews, including children, is fine in war (& they are at war with the Arabs every day) there was, even in Israel, a minor uproar.
The Police summoned 2 rabbinical supporters – including the head of the Yesha Settlers Religious Council, Rabbi Dov Lior – for questioning. More uproar. How dare they summon rabbis. We interpret the Bible and, in this they are quite correct, we are permitted to smite the Amalekite, yea every man, woman, child and suckling babe, down to the 7th generation. All this is written in the Book of Genocide (sorry Joshua). Indeed ‘Academic freedom should be extended to rabbis expressing the Torah's word,"
Now leave aside the fact that academia normally discovers knowledge not legitimates Nazi style racism and barbarism. The fact is that these descendants of the height of fashion in the 15th century now claim academic freedom with which to perpetrate their genocidal views. No doubt Hitler would also have been so entitled.
I also note that Rabbi Chaim Drukman is now termed a 'moderate'. He was a far-right National Religious member of the Knesset and an open hater of Arabs and transfer supporter. This shows just how far to the right the political pendulum in Israel is swinging.
Mass support rally planned for defiant rabbis
Following outrage in religious public over police summoning of rabbis who endorsed controversial book permitting killing of gentiles, Religious Zionism leaders organize mass support conference 'in honor of Torah, entrenchment of its independence'
The summoning of Rabbis Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef for police questioning stirred outrage among the religious and haredi public, and now the Religious Zionist Movement plans to hold a large gathering in support of the two, with the attendance of hundreds of rabbis.
Last week the two rabbis were summoned for questioning – but refused to appear – after endorsing Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira's controversial book, "Torat Hamelech", in which he presented a halachic perspective on the killing of gentiles, including women and children.
The organizing rabbis published a notice in the religious papers' weekend edition titled "Conference for the Torah's Independence," in which they invite the city rabbis, yeshivas heads, and rabbis of all communities and neighborhoods to attend the special gathering at the Ramada Renaissance hotel in Jerusalem.
The notice was signed by "the eldest rabbis" of the Religious Zionist Movement across the spectrum, including Rabbis Yaacov Ariel, Chaim Drukman and Shmuel Eliyahu.
In an unusual step, two of the senior haredi-Sephardic yeshiva heads also joined the call – Head of Porat Yosef Yeshiva, Rabbi Yehuda Mualem, which is considered the flagship of haredi-Sephardic yeshivas (Rabbi Ovadia Yosef among its former students), and Head of Kisse Rahamim Yeshiva Rabbi Meir Mazuz, who is regarded as the rabbi of all exiled Tunisian Jews across the world.
"In light of the summoning for police investigation of the brilliant rabbis, of highest rabbinical religious authority in our times, Rabbis Lior Shalita and Yaakov Yosef Shalita, we thought it right to invite all of Israel's rabbis to a conference of rabbis and scholars in honor of the Torah and the entrenchment of its independence," read the notice.
"Without addressing the content of the book, we cannot agree in any way to the denial of scholar independence on matters pertaining to the Torah," wrote the rabbis.
On Monday Rabbis Lior and Yosef explained their support for the book: "The Torah is not open to investigation," they wrote. "The attempts to stop Israel's rabbis from expressing their opinions, the Torah's opinions, using fear and threats, is a grave act and will not succeed. "A regime that acts in this manner joins the evil regimes which have forbidden the study of the Torah and raised their hands against it. We therefore declare that we intend not to come to be questioned," they concluded.
The rabbis' letter was submitted along with the signatures of over 50 rabbis, including city rabbis and yeshiva heads.
Head of Yeshivat Or Etzion Rabbi Chaim Drukman, who is among the moderate leaders of the Religious Zionist rabbis and Chairman of the Union of Hesder Yeshivot, addressed Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein over the weekend and urged him to cancel the investigation summons.
Throughout the week, Rabbi Drukman slammed the decision to summon the rabbis and said police should not investigate rabbis, and rabbis should not appear for questioning.
"Would they also investigate Rabbi Ovadia Yosef? Do they summon professors in the academia who call to boycott Israel and IDF commanders? Academic freedom should be extended to rabbis expressing the Torah's word," he said.