Rabbi Chaim Druckman, one of the Religious Zionism movement’s leaders, published a statement Friday opposing the limitation on rabbis’ freedom of expression, after Tzefas’ Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the initiator of the controversial rabbis’ letter, was summoned to a police interrogation.
“As the Torah says, it is the right and duty of any rabbi to express his opinion,” wrote Rabbi Druckman.
“After the rabbis’ ruling there were people calling to arrest the rabbis, fire them or hurt them in any way possible,” he said.
“Such a lawsuit was filed with the court by the Reform and Conservative movements and by Hashomer Hatzair (the Socialist-Zionist youth movement), in an attempt to forbid the rabbis from ruling on public matters… Halacha rulings aren’t ‘racism’. The battle over the identity of the State of Israel plays a major part in the Israeli rabbis’ role,” he added.
Rabbi Druckman, who refused to sign the petition against renting and selling apartments to non-Jews, intends to recruit more rabbis to his cause. Afterwards he plans on sending the statement to authority officials, including Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.
Meanwhile, Rabbi Drukman has also demanded that the summons be called off, together with other rabbis, Knesset members and religious Zionists.
Rabbi Eliyahu was ordered to report to the police station in Yerushalayim on Sunday. He told Ynet he had “requested to check whether (author) David Grossman, (former Minister) Yossi Sarid and (former Minister) Shulamit Aloni, who had protested against Jewish settlements in Shimon Hatzadik (Sheikh Jarrah) neighborhood, were also summoned for questioning, but they told me they weren’t. If you accuse me of racism but not them – it’s a double standard… It’s a rabbi’s right and duty to rule for those who ask for it. We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again in the future.”
A few months ago, following the publication of “The King’s Torah”, a book written by an Israeli rabbi dealing with halacha edicts on the murdering of non-Jews, Rabbi Druckman, who is known for being a moderate religious Zionist, objected to harming the rabbis’ freedom of expression regarding halacha rulings, regardless if he agrees with them or not.