Rabbi Dov Lior
Rabbi Dov Lior. Photo by Kobi Gideon
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About 2,000 people gathered in Kiryat Arba near Hebron yesterday in a rally of support for the community's rabbi, Dov Lior, against whom an arrest warrant was issued. The warrant was issued after Lior refused to appear for questioning on his endorsement of the book "Torat Hamelech," which justifies killing non-Jews.

"If the state declares that rabbis are not allowed to voice a political opinion, it will be like in the Soviet Union, where there were commissars who said what was allowed and what was forbidden," Lior said at the rally. "It is inconceivable that a little official in the Justice Ministry can say what rabbis are permitted to do."

MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union ) said: "Even the attorney general, who is in charge of the rule of law, was investigated for employing a foreign worker."

He added: "Issuing an arrest warrant against a great Torah figure of such magnitude, when all this is about is the backing he gave to a book, is a crossing of a red line, McCarthyism ... Would they have behaved this way against an academic of the left?"

Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, a settlement leader and former Knesset member, said the rally was to "protest the desecration of the soul of the State of Israel. Rabbis are the soul of the state. Their dignity must not be harmed."

The commander of the Hebron police came to Lior's home a few days ago and told him an arrest warrant had been issued. The rabbi replied that he "would not take part in the dishonoring of the Torah" and that he would not show up on his own volition for questioning by the police, which he claimed was aimed at "silencing rabbis."

In November 2009, Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Eliztur published "Torat Hamelech" which discusses the conditions under which it is permissible to kill a non-Jew. After the book's publication, a criminal investigation was launched against the two. Rabbi Yosef Ginsburg, of Od Yosef Hai Yeshiva, who approved the book in a foreword, was also questioned.

In August 2010, the police sought to question Lior and another rabbi, Yaakov Yosef, (a former Shas MK ) who had also endorsed the book, on suspicions of racism and incitement. The two refused to be questions, and wrote in a letter that the Torah is not subservient to police investigations.