Involvement in arson attack leads to Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira’s arrest
The head of a West Bank yeshiva was arrested for his alleged involvement in an arson attack on a nearby mosque.
Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, one of the leaders of the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in the northern West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, was arrested Tuesday by the Shin Bet security service.
Shapira had been questioned earlier in the day by police, at which time he reportedly refused to answer questions about the arson. He then was placed under arrest and transferred to the Shin Bet.
At least five of the yeshiva’s students were arrested last week in connection with the arson.
In the December attack on the mosque in the Palestinian town of Yasuf, arsonists burned furniture, prayer rugs and holy texts, and defaced the mosque’s walls. The attack led to retaliatory violence, including the stabbing of an Israeli woman at a bus stop. The arson attack was internationally condemned.
The rabbi has been condemned for writing a book called “The King’s Torah” that says it is permissible to kill non-Jewish children if they pose a threat or as a deterrent for the future. It states that only a Jew who kills a Jew violates the commandment against murder.
On Tuesday, the Anti-Defamation League called on Orthodox Jewish leaders to “speak out against his [Shapira’s] book as a perversion of Judaism.”
ADL National Director Abraham Foxman also said in a statement that “It is outrageous that several prominent rabbis have endorsed this book. The failure of religious leaders to condemn the distorted views of biblical law advocated in “Torat Hamelech” (“The King’s Torah”) may have contributed to an atmosphere in which heinous attacks, such as the attack against the Palestinian mosque in Yasuf, are encouraged and condoned as being supported by biblical commandments.”
An earthquake as powerful as the one that hit Haiti is going to hit Israel, an expert said.
Avi Shapira, chairman of Israel’s National Earthquake Preparedness Committee, told a special Knesset committee Tuesday, “What happened there [Haiti] will also happen here.”
The special committee is made up of members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense and Interior and Environment committees.
Shapira said that hospitals and most buildings built before 1980 would collapse in an earthquake. He said about 20 percent of residential buildings also are not constructed following guidelines to prevent quake damage, Haaretz reported.
In recent years, Israel has been the site of several minor earthquakes. The last major earthquake, with a magnitude of 6, was in 1927 and killed 500 people, according to Haaretz. The Haiti earthquake was a magnitude of 7.
A group of Islamic extremists burst into a French mosque’s prayer service and threatened the presiding imam, known for his efforts to improve Muslim-Jewish ties.
“We are going to liquidate him, this imam of the Jews,” said some of the about 80 people who interrupted Monday’s services in Hassen Chalghoumi’s mosque north of Paris, in Drancy, according to Chalghoumi’s adviser and French news reports. There were about 200 worshipers in the mosque at the time.
The intruders also called Chalghoumi a “heathen” and “renegade.”
Chalghoumi has consistently spoken against Islamic extremism, and has worked actively with Muslim youth and Jewish leaders around France to condemn anti-Semitism.
In 2006, his home was vandalized following his public request that all Muslims respect the memory of the thousands of Jews sent to Nazi death camps from Drancy.
“They wanted to kill me,” said Chalghoumi on Radio Orient on Tuesday, adding that he would continue to work to improve Muslim-Jewish relations in France, and to speak out against extremism, because “it is our future that is at stake.”
Chalghoumi confirmed he would make an official complaint against the unidentified intruders.
France’s Jewish community leaders on Tuesday expressed their solidarity and support for Chalghoumi.