An arrest warrant has been issued against Rabbi Dov Lior, of Kiryat Arba, who refused to a police summons for an investigation where he is suspected of incitement to racial violence, possession of a racist text, and and possession of material that incites to violence.
Police issue arrest warrant for Rabbi Dov Lior
Prominent settler leader refuses to cooperate with Police investigation into endorsement of controversial book Torat HaMelech.
By TOVAH LAZAROFF, YAAKOV LAPPIN AND JONAH MANDEL • Jerusalem Post
Police intend to arrest the prominent rabbinical settler leader Dov Lior if he continues to ignore their requests to question him about his endorsement of a controversial book Torat HaMelech.
Police are in the midst of a wide range investigation into the book, authored by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, which states that non-Jews can be killed in certain situations during warfare.
Already last summer police summoned Lior and Rabbi Ya’acov Yosef, son of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, so that they could question them about the book.
Yosef publicly refused summons, stating that “the attempt to prevent the rabbis of Israel from expressing their opinion, the opinion of the Torah, through intimidation and threats is a most severe act and will not succeed.”
Lior has also continuously refused to cooperate with police for the same reason. According to sources close to Lior the police chief from the Hebron area arrives at the rabbi’s home in the Kiryat Arba settlement a few days ago to inform him that an arrest warrant had been issued against him.
He warned he would execute the warrant if Lior continued to refuse to willingly participate in their investigation, according to the sources close to the rabbi.
Lior told the police that he would not participate in such an act of contempt against the Bible and that he would not be part of an investigation whose aim was to silence rabbis.
A law enforcement source confirmed that Lior would be arrested if he continued to refuse to participated in the investigation, which is being led by the unit for serious and international crimes.
Lior is the rabbi of Kiryat Arba and is considered to be one of the rabbinical leaders of the religious Zionist movement. The threat of his arrest angered his followers, as well as many settler and right wing activists.
His supporters plan to hold a demonstration Tuesday morning in front of his Kiryat Arba home to show that they stand behind his leadership and beliefs.
Sources close to Lior said the threat of arrest was an attempt to prevent the rabbi from presenting his opinion on the Bible. By refusing to help the police the Lior is attempting to halt this persecution against the Bible and to strengthen other rabbis, the sources close to Lior said.
MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union) called the warrant “scandalous” and warned that it “crossed a red line.”
“It appears that there are those who want to bring violence and division to the nation of Israel,” he said.
Where, he wanted to know, were the leftists, which only a few days earlier had complained about censorship.
The Binyamin and Samaria Citizens’ Committee said that the warrant was “an declaration of war by the prosecutors and the state against the Jewish faithful that carry its flag. This warrant spits in the face of the Jewish people. We call on all those who value the Jewish character of our nation to rise up and oppose this, even with their bodies.”
But organizations said that Lior had erred in his support for the book.
The liberal modern-Orthodox Ne’emanei Torah Ve’avodah (The Faithful of Torah and Labor) said on Monday: “The unnecessary obstinacy at the onset of this affair to not cooperate with the legal enforcement authorities leads us to places nobody wants to reach. Israel's rabbis must respect the laws of the state like any other citizen in Israel, and this commitment bears the Halachic weight of dina demalchuta dina (the law of the state is law). Hence to not cooperate with the legal authorities not only creates the impression that some citizens are above it, but is also a Halachic problem. At the same time, the law enforcement authorities should examine themselves to see if they are not applying double standards in the way the address statements of public Israeli figures from the Right and Left.”
Peace Now Executive Director Yariv Oppenheimer said that the warrant was “too little, too late.” He called on police to arrest scores of others rabbis who have supported racist edicts including those which prohibited renting apartments to Israeli Arabs.