Sources within the police said Thursday that the son of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef had not been arrested in the last 48 hours because he was surrounded by dozens of supporters and media crews and the police "didn't wish to embarrass him…The issue is potentially explosive."
Police using kid gloves in Rabbi Yosef inquiry
Rabbi Dov Lior arrest, riots that followed lead police to take different approach in arrest of Rabbi Yosef who is also suspected of incitement
Omri Ephraim • Ynet
After the storm that broke out when Rabbi Dov Lior was detained for questioning, police are using kid gloves in their handling of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef who has so far evaded a police request that he present himself for questioning with regards to the "Kings Torah" affair.
Sources within the police said Thursday that the son of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef had not been arrested in the last 48 hours because he was surrounded by dozens of supporters and media crews and the police "didn't wish to embarrass him".
"The issue is potentially explosive," the sources said, explaining why police decided to wait instead of detaining Rabbi Yosef, a former Knesset Member. "On the one hand we have no wish to hurt or insult the rabbi, but on the other hand, he is needed for questioning."
Yet they estimate that "the police will complete its mission and Rabbi Yosef will be brought in for questioning soon. There is still a question surrounding the timing and the operational preparation.
'Police not above law'
Police called Rabbi Yosef three days ago trying to coordinate the investigation with him – but he did not present himself and yet, was not arrested. Sources close to the rabbi said he was offered the opportunity to be interrogated in his home by plain clothes police officers.
Meanwhile, Rabbi Yosef denies that he received a request from the police to come in for questioning. "I did not receive any calls from the police, they didn't call. If they do I'll let you know," he said with a smile.
Rabbi Yosef said that he would decide whether to present himself at the police station for questioning after he receives a request. "In the meantime, for a whole year I've been hearing that they want to. I have yet to have the privilege of hearing from them on the phone. "There is justice and there is a judge."
He also expressed criticism of the police saying: "The police are not above the law. We are a democratic State and in a democratic State the police also have their limitations and they understand their limitations."
Meanwhile, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Yaakov Yosef's father and the leading Sefardic halakhic (Jewish law) authority in the world, opposes the Torat HaMelech and his son's actions:
“We should give considerable attention to the nations of the world and not assist in a writing that could be interpreted as racist,” the report quoted Rabbi Ovadia Yosef as saying. “The Torah respects everyone since everyone was created in G-d’s image.”
Rabbi Yosef was also quoted as saying that “the petition against renting apartments to Arabs was also unnecessary.”
And so does Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the 101-year-old leader of Ashkenazic ultra-Orthodox Jews:
“There are people who do not understand that the Jewish people do not live only in Israel,” Rabbi Elyashiv was quoted as having said. “Such writings can bring danger to the lives of Jews abroad. We are playing with fire here and are endangering other Jews.”
Rabbi Dov Lior, whose arrest earlier this week sparked riots, explained his failure to answer repeated police summonses this way:
[Lior failed to answer the summonses because, he told his students,] he had not broken any laws nor did he incite to violence or racial hatred. The book is one of theoretical Halakhic deductions, and the real issue is one of free speech for rabbis, equivalent to that for academics.
“I expressed an opinion on a specific issue,” he said. “People on the street told me that I’m suspected of inciting racial hatred and violence. I say that stating something like this about any rabbi in Israel is baseless libel. The rabbis have never incited, not to violence and not to racial hatred.”
Lior did not discuss the string of "price tag" violent acts committed by rabbinical students against Arabs and police, or the support of rabbis – including the authors of Torat HaMelech – for those acts of violence.