Religious Lawmakers Propose Bill Providing Legal Immunity to Rabbis

Bill was proposed after police issued an arrest warrant for Rabbi Dov Lior, who supported a book which justifies killing non-Jews.

Lawmakers from Shas, National Union and the United Torah Judaism proposed a bill on Wednesday that would give rabbis immunity against legal responsibility for comments or opinions voiced about the Torah, books and religious rulings.

The bill entitled "Dov Lior Law" was sponsored by Michael Ben Ari (National Union), Shas Chairman Eli Yishai, Avraham Michaeli (Shas), Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) and Israel Eichler (United Torah Judaism).

Rabbi Dov Lior
Kobi Gideon

The bill proposes that rabbis will be immune to legal action pursued due to religious rulings and writings or the voicing of opinions in writing or when speaking, regarding the Torah.

The bill was proposed after police issued an arrest warrant for Rabbi Dov Lior, the head rabbi of Kiryat Arba, in response to the rabbi's refusal to appear for questioning on the support he gave for the controversial book "Torat Hamelech," which justifies killing non-Jews.

Ben Ari said the religious and Haredi Knesset members were sending an unequivocal message to the prosecution saying "the rabbis are allowed what the left-wing academics are allowed."

"The bill proposes that the rabbis receive the same legal treatment that the prosecution provides to the extreme left," Ben Ari said.

Ben-Ari backed the bill, calling the arrest warrant for Rabbi Lior "a travesty."

"This is a regime of fear and one wonders where all the leftists have gone, who just a few days ago spoke of being silenced," he said. "The issuance of an arrest warrant against a great Torah figure of such magnitude, when all this is about 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?"

Following the arrest warrant, a group of intellectuals and Israel Prize recipients called for Lior to be removed from his public position due to his refusal to be questioned by the police on the matter.