Hundreds in Jerusalem Protest the Arrest of Senior Rabbis

Two top rabbis briefly detained for questioning for their endorsement of book which justifies killing of non-Jews; Rabbi Dov Lior, chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba, says arrests have awakened rightist activists.

Hundreds of people gathered in front of the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on Monday night for a mass protest against the arrests of senior rabbis who were briefly detained for incitement after they endorsed a religious tract justifying the killing of non-Jews.

Hundreds of police officers were stationed around the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on Monday in preparation for potentially violent protests.

Emil Salman

Two senior rabbis who had endorsed the book "Torat Hamelech" (The King's Torah), which among other things preaches in favor of killing Arab infants, Rabbi Dov Lior and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, the son of Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef, were shortly detained for questioning in recent days. The two spoke at the rally, along with some twenty senior leaders in religious Zionism at the event dubbed "In honor of the Torah."

"We need to thank those responsible for the arrests, otherwise we would still be sleeping," Rabbi Dov Lior said during the rally, explaining that his arrest had awakened rightist activists.

The protesters at the rally are rabbis and yeshiva students, some of which stress they do not condone the book "Torat Hamelech", but oppose the humiliation of rabbis and the Torah.

On Sunday, hundreds rallied in Jerusalem after Rabbi Yaakov Yosef was briefly arrested and questioned on his endorsement of the religious tract.