News from IRAC – What is Torat Hamelech?

The Pluralist

Newsletter of the Israel Religious Action Center
Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism

May 14, 2012

What is Torat Hamelech?

There are times in which we will want to harm the innocent from the outset. And their presence and their killing is actually beneficial and helpful to us.  For example, harming the infants from the wicked king’s family, who are currently innocent; their killing helps us to harm and pain the king so that he will stop fighting us.
– Excerpt from the book “Torat Hamelech”

Dear Friends of IRAC,

For some reason, when ideas are put down in a book they are given more authority. Seeing something crazy in writing makes it literature, and if it is written in Hebrew it is holy. The book I am talking about today is neither literature nor holy. It is simply evil.

In 2009, Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur, who head the “Od Yosef Chai” Yeshiva, wrote a book that permits the killing of non-Jews. This book is called Torat HaMelech (The King’s Torah), and it is a manual on how Jewish law can justify hate and violence.

This outrageous book received official rabbinic endorsement by prominent orthodox rabbis in Israel including Rabbi Dov Lior, who is employed by the State as the rabbi of Kiryat Arba. At IRAC, we have been working to end the careers of these rabbis as civil servants.

When the Mufti of Jerusalem gave a sermon about killing Jews, the State opened a criminal investigation in less than a week. But when rabbis widely distribute their manual for violence to the masses, the State remains silent. We will not remain silent.

After our countless complaints to the State, IRAC petitioned the Supreme Court demanding that the authors of Torat HaMelech and those who gave it official rabbinic endorsement be prosecuted. We are anxiously awaiting the State’s response to our petition.

Last week, when we were at the Supreme Court fighting for Miri Gold’s right to be recognized as a rabbi, the State entered the hearing with full knowledge that the backing of thousands of supporters all over the world were with us.

Very soon, we will need your help again applying pressure on the State to prosecute these rabbis.

Israel needs to be a Jewish state that uses its Jewish values to build a safe and inclusive home for all its citizens. Help our numbers grow, and together we will stop this perversion.


Action Alert: Let’s Grow our Voice!

Last week, you had the chance to express your opinion about equal recognition for our rabbis… and that is exactly what you did. Over 5000 emails were sent to the Minister of Religious Services, Minister Margi, and his spokesperson. They were so confused by the display of support for Miri Gold that they first called our office to see if we were having a computer malfunction, and then they called a second time threatening to sue us for harassing them. It was a proud day at IRAC, and it was all thanks to you.

The only way we can continue to exert influence is if our numbers grow. Imagine the impact if those five thousand emails were fifty thousand! The only way we are going to double or triple our supporter base is with your help. Donate as many of your friends as you can, and explain how important it is for them to join our efforts.

We have seen how powerful it is when we work together to make our voices heard, and only together will we make those voices grow.

D’var Torah – Behar-Behukotai

This week’s social justice D’var Torah was written By Rabbi Steven L. Denker from Temple Emanu El in Orange Village, Ohio