Rav Yaakov Yosef, who was arrested Sunday morning and released shortly after, slammed the law enforcement system in Israel, saying that “only in a state without democracy can the police do whatever they want.
“They behaved in an ugly manner,” Rav Yosef said of the police in an interview with the radio station Radio Kol Chai. “Such brutal behavior cannot be forgiven.”
Rav Yosef, who was brought in for questioning over his endorsement of the Sefer Toras Hamelech, a book that deals with the Jewish law’s stance on killing non-Jews during wartime, said that the police asked him two or three questions about each page of the book, but noted that he did not go into an in-depth discussion with them.
“We say on Pesach, ‘Pour out thy wrath upon the nations.’ So what? We won’t be allowed to say it? We won’t be allowed to study the Torah?” Rav Yosef said. “We didn’t go into the smallest details of the matter, because it a matter of Jewish law. Torat Hamelech is a matter of Jewish law only. Under this preamble, there’s nothing to talk about.”
When the police asked him whether it was worth it to endorse the book, Rav Yosef said: “If we define our reality by saying we live in a Bolshevik state, without a Knesset, without democracy… if this is the state then of course it isn’t worth it. Why to confront them? ‘Each man by his own camp.'”
Rav Yosef has been surrounded in recent days by his supporters, who wished to prevent the police from arresting him. For this reason the police stationed several units around his Yerushalayim home, staking out an opportunity when Yosef was alone. He was stopped by plainclothes officers on Sunday morning, and released after a half hour-long questioning.