Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur will not be prosecuted for their book Torat HaMelech. Shapira and Elitzur wrote in Torat HaMelech that non-Jews who are non-combatants could be killed in times of war. Even babies in their cribs could be killed, they wrote, “if there is a good chance they will grow up to be like their evil parents.”
Rabbis Who Endorsed The Murder Of Non-Jewish Babies Won’t Be Prosecuted, AG Says
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur will not be prosecuted for their book Torat HaMelech. Shapira and Elitzur wrote in Torat HaMelech that non-Jews who are non-combatants could be killed in times of war. Even babies in their cribs could be killed, they wrote, “if there is a good chance they will grow up to be like their evil parents,” the Jerusalem Post reported.
"When we approach a gentile who has violated the seven laws of Noah and kill him out of devotion to the upholding of these Noahide laws, this is not forbidden…a person who encourages war provides strength to a king and his soldiers who persist with the war. Thus any person in a kingdom who encourages soldiers or tolerates their actions can be considered a dangerous pursuer [rodef], and can be killed." Ha’aretz quotes the book as saying.
Israel has laws that make incitement to violence and racism illegal.
But Israel’s Attorney General has decided that Shapira, Elitzur and two rabbis who endorsed the book, Yaakov Yosef and Dov Lior, won’t be prosecuted.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Weinstein believes that books that deal with rulings on halakha, Jewish law, or that are made up of Orthodox/haredi textual sources should not be criminally prosecuted to, as the Post put it, “preserve freedom of religion.”
Weinstein also told the Post that it was hard to make the claim that the book itself was enough to permit the actions without a separate ruling being issued by a rabbi.
Critics point out that Weinstein has read into the law protections for rabbis that are not, in fact, written in it. They also claim that incite to violence and racism by rabbis will grow as a result of Weinstein’s decision.
Would an Israeli imam who writes a book or article claiming that Jews should be killed be allowed to do so?
Under Weinstein’s ruling, he would.
Shapira is from a prominent Zionist Orthodox family. He became a Chabad follower under the tutelage of Rabbi Yitzchok Ginsburgh. Ginsburgh faced his own troubles with the law over a book he wrote praising mass murderer Baruch Goldstein.
Shapira and Elitzur are rosh yeshivas in Ginsburgh's yeshiva.
Shapira and Elitzur refused to cooperate with the investigation against them. But they did send a letter to the Education Ministry explaining their position. Ha’aretz quotes it this way:
[Torat HaMelech] is a "book about Jewish law which reviews and explicates Torah sources. The book does not dictate how people should act; this is not a book that conveys orders for action, and is instead a book for study and discussion written in terminology used in yeshiva discourse."
The authors claimed their book states explicitly that "the killing of a gentile is forbidden by Torah," but they immediately added:"the text indicates that harm can only be brought to a person who does not uphold the seven laws of Noah, and such harm can only come about in special circumstances."
The book was widely condemned by Zionist Orthodox and Modern Orthodox rabbis as racist and a misrepresentation of halakha and the halakhic process.
But even so, many of those same rabbis opposed prosecuting Shapira, Elitzur, Yosef and Lior, claiming that the state had to stay out of the halakhic process.
Haredi rabbinic leaders, including Rabbis Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and Ovadia Yosef (Yaakov Yosef’s father) also condemned the book.
The book was published in 2009 and the investigation into it wasn’t opened until early 2011. Several progressive Jewish groups recently petitioned Israel’s High Court to force the AG to explain why no indictment had been issued in the more than 15 months the AG had been conducting his investigation.
[Hat Tip: APC.]