Sunday, May 27, 2012

Israeli Attorney General decides not to prosecute King's Torah authors

As reported by Aviad Glickman of Ynet News, May 28, 2012:

Nearly a year after police launched an investigation into the publication of the King's Torah, a book that stated that it was permissible to kill non-Jews when their presence in Israel endangers Jews, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein decided to close the criminal case against the authors and its supporters "due to lack of sufficient evidence as required in criminal law."

The attorney general ruled that it was impossible to determine that the publication of the book was done with the intent of inciting to racism as the law demands.

Weinstein stressed that when the matter involves the publication of a halachic ruling or halachic books, and out of consideration for the principle of religious freedom, criminal proceedings must be avoided when possible.

Yet the attorney general also stated that it was "obvious that the decision to close (the case) was not in any way an expression of acceptance for the serious statements presented in the book. The opposite is true, the statements are, according to the attorney general, deserving of condemnation and denunciation."

The book stirred controversy for stating that it is permissible to kill a non-Jew if his presence endangers Jewish life. Some rabbis within the religious community supported the statements while others hinted that the statements were dangerous.

Police launched an investigation into the matter and authors Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira and Rabbi Yosef Elitzur were investigated over suspected incitement to violence and racism.

Other rabbis investigated in connection with the affair included Rabbi Dov Lior, Yitzhak Ginsberg and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef who expressed their support for the book.

Over the last two months the State Prosecutor's Office examined whether there was room to indict the book's authors, something which could create a major furor within the Zionist-religious community.

The prosecutor's office was of the opinion that indictment would be problematic as it is hard to prove that the authors intended to act with violence, and in a case like this, intent must be proven.

The decision is within Weinstein's purview and so the case will now be closed.

Mr. Glickman reported on May 25, 2012:

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein will most likely decline to indict the authors of The "King's Torah," a book that claims that in certain situations it is permissible to kill non-Jews, Ynet learned on Thursday.

The book stirred controversy for stating that it is permissible to kill a non-Jew if his presence endangers Jewish life. Some rabbis within the religious community supported the statements while others hinted that the statements were dangerous.

Police launched an investigation into the matter and authors Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira and Rabbi Yosef Elitzur were investigated over suspected incitement to violence and racism.

Other rabbis investigated in connection with the affair included Rabbi Dov Lior, Yitzhak Ginsberg and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef who expressed their support for the book.

Over the last two months the State Prosecutor's Office examined whether there was room to indict the book's authors, something which could create a major furor within the Zionist-religious community.

The prosecutor's office was of the opinion that indictment would be problematic as it is hard to prove that the authors intended to act with violence, and in a case like this, intent must be proven.

The decision is within Weinstein's purview and at the moment it is likely that he will decide not to file indictments.

In addition to the police investigation in the matter, a petition to indict the rabbis was also presented by the Reform movement.
Mr. Glickman posted a report on that petition on April 2, 2012:

The Reform Movement, the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, Professor Asa Kasher and several other Jewish groups filed a High Court petition Monday urging the criminal prosecution of rabbis Yitzhak Shapira, Dov Lior, Yitzhak Ginsburg and Yosef Elizor.

The four penned the controversial book "The King's Torah," which the petition says contains racist statements that constitute incitement and sedition.

The petition further asked the court to issue an injunction against future printings of the book.

"The 'King's Torah' is overflowing with grave racist statements, which incite violence against Arabs and other minorities in Israel, thus constituting sedition," the petition said.

The authors "advocate the killing of Arab children and babies in order to achieve the highest form of execution of the 'vengeance mitzvah'; as well as the bombing any area where terrorists reside even at the expense of innocent lives," the petition said.

"The King's Torah" was first published in 2010 and has been the focus of legal controversy.

The petition criticizes the "Judiciary's failure to prosecute the authors… This disgraces the rule of law in Israel and undermines its foundations. The court must order the State Prosecution to indict the authors," the petitioners argued.

"In a time when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is affecting the Israeli public's everyday life, it is unfortunate to see how various elements chose to advocate violence.

"This is doubly true when it comes to religious leaders who use their title to disguise sedition," the petition concluded.
Mr. Glickman posted a report on a revised edition of the book on July 5, 2011:

Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira of Yitzhar, who wrote in 2009 that it is permissible for Jews to kill non-Jews (including children) who threaten Israel, says that changes may be made "in popular sections" in the next edition of his controversial book, "King's Torah."

According to the rabbi, the book should be written in a clearer way, which would make it easier for the public to understand the author's intentions.

"I have no regrets, not about the book and not about what God Almighty creates with its publication," Rabbi Shapira said in an interview to Kol Hai Radio, which will be broadcast soon.

"I do believe that had it occurred to me that the book would be distributed to such a wide and distant audience, I would have added in several sections a slightly bigger clarification."

The rabbi addressed the killing of children, which was one of the reasons he was suspected of incitement, as were Rabbis Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef who endorsed the book.

According to the book, "Hurting small children makes sense if it's clear that they'll grow up to harm us, and in such a situation – the injury will be directed at them of all people."

Shapira explained in the interview, "Assuming that at a time of war I must kill children in order to win – otherwise my soldiers will die, then killing the enemy's children is the right thing to do rather than have my soldiers killed…

"If I believe there is an evil king, a tyrant, who is involved in many unjustified wars, and I want to win the war, and my way is for his children to be hurt in order to weaken his spirit and have him stop sending his soldiers to war – then it's permissible."


When can one kill a goy


The rabbi went on to slam Israel's combat ethics. He expressed his hope that a Torah-based practical combat plan would be distributed to the public in the future, "in order to let the public judge whether what the Torah says is more acceptable then what all kinds of legal advisors and people of ethics say…

"I think that people who read the plan will realize that what the Torah says is much more sincere than 'purity of arms' (IDF's official doctrine of ethics). I think that calling it 'purity of arms' is a disgrace – it's putting human life in risk.

"The Jews are wise people; they will come to their senses. The conscious and behavioral revolution will take place easily and pleasantly, and I hope we won't have to experience difficult things for it to happen. We can't go on acting like we're acting today, because then the situation of the Jews here will be worse."

The Yitzhar rabbi strongly criticized Israel's legal system and former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak. According to Shapira, Barak decided to confront the Torah with all his might, as did Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan.

Answering a question presented by interviewer Assaf Gavor, the rabbi clarified that his book includes a halachic innovation because it thoroughly examines when it is really permissible to kill a non-Jew and when he and when it's forbidden.

He said that there was an erroneous understanding that sometimes "when one reads the Halacha in different places, one might think that you can kill gentiles freely, without any problem whatsoever."

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