Rabbi Dov Lior
Rabbi Dov Lior. Photo by Kobi Gideon
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Leading Israeli intellectuals and Israel Prize laureates demanded the immediate firing of a top rabbi accused of supporting a book justifying the killing of non Jews on Saturday, urging the state to investigate him for his alleged role in the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Last week, police issued a warrant for the arrest of Dov Lior, the head rabbi of Kiryat Arba and a senior figure in religious Zionism, following the rabbi's refusal to appear for questioning on the support he gave for the controversial book "Torat Hamelech."

In November 2009, rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur published "Torat Hamelech" which discusses the conditions according to Jewish law under which one may kill gentiles. A criminal investigation ensued as a result of the book's publication.

In a statement released on Sunday, and singed by such writers as Sefi Rachlevsky, Sami Michael, Yoram Kanuk, Yehoshua Kenaz and Yehoshua Sobol as well as Israel Prize laureates such as former Meretz leader Shulamit Aloni and photographer Alex Levac, the leading Israeli intellectuals urged the state to fire rabbi Lior from all his public positions as a result of his refusal to be questioned by police.

The statement called for Israel to investigate Lior's involvement in "all of the killings, from the Gush Emunim Underground, through the Hebron massacre, to Rabin's assassination."

"The rabbi was never investigated, even though [Hebron massacre killer] Barch Goldstein saw Dov Lior as his spiritual authority, and even though following the massacre Lior stated that Goldstein was holier than the saints of the Holocaust," the statement said.

"And all this despite the fact that there is evidence that Lior was the main source for the religious edicts authorizing the killing of Yitzhak Rabin," the leading intellectuals added.

The statement also went on to claim that "Dov Lior receives tens of thousands of NIS every month from the State of Israel for his public capacities as the rabbi of Kiryat Arba, the head of a rabbinical court, and the head of a major IDF-affiliated religious school."

Culminating the statement, the Israeli intellectuals warned the government that by not pursuing an investigation of Lior's "serious crimes" it was undermining the very foundations of the state's very existence.