Rabbi Yaakov Yosef - Appelbaum
Rabbi Yaakov Yosef. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
Text size

Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, son of Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef, was questioned Sunday morning on suspicion of incitement to racism and violence following his endorsement of a religious tract which justifies the killing of non-Jews.

Rabbi Yosef was arrested in his car after concluding his morning prayer at Simon's Tomb in Jerusalem, and was questioned for less than an hour about his endorsement of the controversial book "Torat Hamelech," and then released.

Kiryat Arab Chief Rabbi Dov Lior was also detained earlier this week following his endorsement of the book on suspicion of incitement to violence and racism, after he refused to be questioned on the matter.

Following Yosef's arrest, police stationed security forces throughout Jerusalem fearing disorderly conduct by protesters. Several demonstrators had burned tires on the Tel-Aviv-Jerusalem highway, and three youths were detained after they had tried to block the path of the Jerusalem light rail near Yosef's home.

About 18 months ago, Yosef issued a written endorsement of the book Torat Hamelech ("The King's Torah"). The book considers various situations in which killing non-Jews is permitted.

In the subsequent investigation, police questioned both the author, Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, and Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg, who also endorsed the book. But Yosef and Rabbi Dov Lior, who endorsed the book as well, refused to show up for questioning, saying they felt they were being persecuted, and that a religious tract could not be investigated by the police.