Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein is unlikely to file an indictment against the four rabbis responsible for a book that permits violence against non-Jews, sources familiar with the case say.
Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur of the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in Yitzhar have been under police investigation for more than a year following the publication of their book “Torat Hamelech” (“The Way of the King”), which describes Jewish law governing the treatment of gentiles, particularly in times of war. The book describes situations in which innocent gentiles, including children, may be killed.
Kiryat Arba and Hebron Chief Rabbi Dov Lior and the dean of the yeshiva, Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburg, who wrote “haskamot,” rabbinical endorsements, for the book, will most likely be cleared of any wrongdoing as well, the sources said. Rabbinical endorsements are usually written by well-respected figures to elevate the author's standing and vouch for his or her credibility.
Over the past few weeks, state attorneys have held intense discussions to decide whether the book falls within the confines of allowed free speech. "This case is still under review and no final decision has been made yet," a statement from the attorney-general’s office said. "When the attorney-general informs us of his decision, we will make it public."
The decision to launch a police inquiry over the language of the book caused tempers to flare, which only intensified when the police arrested Lior for failing to show up for questioning. Both Weinstein and State Prosecutor Moshe Lador approved the police's request to issue an arrest warrant, but large protests erupted when Lior was arrested after his car was pulled over by at a security checkpoint near his hometown in Judea and Samaria, with some protesters saying the rabbi had been “abducted like a common criminal.” Lior was released after the questioning.
In April, the Coalition Against Racism filed a High Court of Justice petition to have the authors of the book and their endorsers prosecuted and to prevent the book's publication and distribution. "The book is singularly focused on when it is permitted to kill gentiles," wrote the organization in a press release last month. "This book is inundated with highly racist content that incites to violence against Arabs and other minorities in Israel, which is a form of sedition."