Arrest of Shas leader’s son sparks haredi Orthodox protests


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hundreds of haredi Orthodox supporters protested the arrest and questioning of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, the son of Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef.

Yosef was arrested on his way home from morning prayers Sunday on suspicion of incitement to racism and violence over his 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.

Yosef was questioned and released. The protests began outside Yosef’s Jerusalem home and continued throughout the city, ending by late afternoon.

Three protesters were arrested for trying to stop the city’s light rail from moving. Other protesters attacked two cars driven by Arabs.

Last week, Rabbi Dov Lior, a senior figure in the national religious community, was arrested while driving near Jerusalem after months of refusing to appear for questioning for his endorsement of the book. His arrest sparked violent protests in Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the subject of Yosef’s arrest at the beginning of Sunday’s weekly Cabinet meeting.

"Israel is a nation of laws, as I said a few days ago. Nobody is above the law," Netanyahu said, "and I demand that every Israeli citizen respect the law."

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