New York, NY, January 26, 2010 … The arrest of five students from a West Bank yeshiva on charges of torching and vandalizing a mosque in a neighboring Palestinian village, "highlights the danger of the teachings of Yeshiva head Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira," the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said in calling on responsible Orthodox Jewish leaders to "speak out against his book as a perversion of Judaism."
Rabbi Shapira's book Torat Hamelech or "The King's Torah" claims to be a guide to Jewish law and includes passages promoting an extremist philosophy that condones killing non-Jews, including infants and children. It states that only a Jew who kills a Jew violates the commandment "Thou Shalt Not Murder."
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira's book is a perversion of Judaism, rejecting the morals and ethics inherent in the Jewish faith for an extremist ideology that encourages the killings of non-Jews. His teachings are anathema not only to the tenets of Judaism but to the humanitarian and democratic principles upon which the state of Israel was founded.
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 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.
We applaud those rabbinic scholars who have condemned the book and banned it from their schools. We call on the chief rabbis of Israel and rabbinic leaders in the Orthodox community -- in the United States and throughout the world -- to speak out against this text as a perversion of Judaism, cloaking itself as an authoritative interpretation of Jewish biblical law.
The book was co-authored by Rabbis Shapira and Yosef Elitzur of the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, where Shapira leads the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva. Ten settlers were arrested January 18 in a raid on Yitzhar by Israeli security officials.