Demonstrations protest arrest of two rabbis

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hundreds of protesters demonstrated in front of the Supreme Court in Jerusalem against the arrest of two prominent rabbis.

The demonstrators, which some Israeli media outlets said numbered at least 2,000, rallied Monday evening in support of Rabbi Dov Lior, the chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba, and Rabbi  Yaakov Yosef, the son of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Both rabbis were arrested and questioned in the past week on suspicion of incitement for their endorsement of the controversial book “Torat Hamelech,” or "The King’s Torah," which reportedly discusses situations in which it is permissible for Jews to kill non-Jews. 

The book’s author, Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, previously had been detained and questioned over the contents of his book.

Hundreds of people also demonstrated Sunday in Jerusalem following the arrest of Yosef.

“Rabbis should express their opinion and not fear someone won’t like it," Lior told protesters Monday evening, while also thanking those responsible for the arrests, "otherwise we would still be sleeping."

Speakers said they attended the rally to protest a double standard under which rabbis were arrested for their interpretations of the Torah but left-wing academics who called for violence against Jewish settlers were not investigated.  

Following the peaceful demonstration, protesters blocked the roads leading into Jerusalem, as well as the light rail, and damaged a pipe near the Chord Bridge. Police used water cannons to stop the rioting protesters. Five demonstrators were arrested. 
 

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