Police on Tuesday detained for questioning Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, the head of the Jerusalem Temple Institute, on suspicion of threatening GOC Central Command Yair Naveh's life and inciting violence..
Ariel was allegedly involved in the issuance of a halakhic ruling against Major General Naveh because of authorization of restraining orders against West Bank settlers. According to the ruling, in signing such orders, Naveh was guilty of crimes punishable by death according to Jewish law.
Ariel has been transferred to the investigation offices of the Jerusalem Police's central unit, where he is relating his version of events.
In mid-January Ariel, along with a group of rabbis linked to the revived Sanhedrin movement - or high court of Jewish law – allegedly issued a letter ruling that Naveh was guilty of three crimes: "Causing the masses to sin"; being a "moser" - someone who informs against fellow Jews or hands over Jews or Jewish land to gentiles; and terrifying the public in a blasphemous way."
In their decision, the rabbis referred to a ruling made by the 12th century Jewish philosopher Maimonides, according to which "it is permissible to kill a moser everywhere, even in this time when the courts do not rule on capital cases."
About a month ago, the State Prosecution decided to open a criminal investigation against the signatories to the halakhic ruling, who include Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, the head of the Jerusalem Temple Institute; Rabbi Yehuda Edrey, of the movement to rebuild the temple; Bar Ilan Literature Professor Hillel Weiss; Rabbi Rueven Hass and Rabbi Ido Alba.
Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan instructed the police to examine how the document was issued and in what circles, because a person cannot be convicted of inciting violence if his or her statements were not published.…
Then Ha'aretz adds a ponted jab at the Sanhedrin itself:
Nitzan also ordered the police to try to determine the size of the population that adheres to rulings issued by the Sanhedrin movement's high court of Jewish law, as the law states that an incitement conviction warrants proof of a "real possibility" that the incitement would provoke violent acts.
I wonder if there is a siding scale of punishment – after all, the only people who follow these nut jobs are other nut jobs. Unfortunately, those nut jobs make up a significant portion of Israel's religious right wing.
The Jerusalem Post adds:
Prof. Hillel Weiss, a member of the rabbinic court that issued the halachic decision, said the detention was an attempt to intimidate his court.
"We refuse to change the way the court makes its decision," said Weiss. "All of our rulings are based on the Torah. I stand behind the president of the rabbinic court [Ariel] even if it means we will be the next Pollards and sit in prison for years."
Amen, sela. Padded cells for them all!
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz still heads this collection of loons. Sad. He should walk away from this insanity. But, worse yet, the Jerusalem Post is reporting that Steinsaltz will be the keynote speaker at the Sanhedrin's annual fundraising dinner, scheduled, by the way, for today. Among the honored guests is Moshe Feiglin, the uber-right-wing nationalist who, one would think, should distance himself from this insanity. That he has not speaks volumes about his true intentions.