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September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Lior’

Rabbi Lior ‘Saddened’ by Rav Ovadia’s Attack on Jewish Home

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Senior rabbis of Religious Zionism, led by Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Haim Druckman and Rabbi Chaim Steiner, on Monday signed a statement in which they respond to the hostile criticism made by Rav Ovadia Yosef, the most respected posek (rabbinic jurists) of our time and the spiritual leader of the Shas party, Srugim reported.

On Saturday night, Rav Ovadia attacked the Jewish Home party saying it was not the home of Jews but of goyim, and that religious Jews must not vote for this party.

The attack by Rav Ovadia followed a Srugim expose which stirred political and religious circles with the revelation that Ayelet Shaked, number 5 on the Jewish Home list, supports civil marriages for Jews who are unweddable according to the standards of Israel’s chief rabbinate.

In their Communiqué, the Religious Zionist rabbis avoid direct criticism of Rav Ovadia Yosef, stating only that they heard “regretfully the comments made in error about a large community of Israeli supporters of Jewish Home.”

The Rabbis noted that the supporters of the Jewish Home are “loyal to the Torah and the commandments and many have martyred themselves for the sake of Torah and for settling the Land of Israel.”

The rabbis further write that they “recognize and appreciate Jewish scholars who support Jewish Home.” They also state that Jewish Home has carved on its banner its dedication on behalf of the Torah of Israel in all areas of public life.

In addition to Rabbis Lior, Druckman and Steiner, the document was also signed by Rabbi Isser Klonsky, Rabbi Gideon Perl, Rabbi David Chai HaCohen, Rabbi Eliakim Levanon, Rabbi Michael Hershkowitz and Rabbi Shimon Cohen.

Just Say No… to the Nonsense of the iPhone Smashing Rabbis

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Stories like the one in a Jerusalem Post article about the public smashing of an iphone by a Bnei Brak rabbi are so common place that reporting on them is no longer news worthy. And commenting on them has become an exercise in redundancy. In fact I just wrote about a story like this. This story takes it step further though. It is not only about how evil smart-phones are. It is about how vile and disgusting the people who own them are!

I am beginning to find that the more I see a story like this, the more I just want to fold up my tent, and go home. No matter how much one wants to be Dan L’Kaf Zechus and judge people and their actions favorably, a story like this comes along which makes it extremely difficult to do so. Here is an excerpt:

During his tirade, given from behind a table with an iPhone sitting on it, the rabbi inveighed against anyone possessing the popular smart phone. “A religious person who owns this impure device is an abomination and a disgusting, vile villain,” (Rabbi Lior) Glazer said.

OK. We all know about it. We all know that improper use of a smart-phone can lead to a disaster:

(Rabbi Lior) then gave an account of a man who had purchased an iPhone, which “ruined his life” and on account of which he got divorced from his wife.

Of course Rabbi Lior fails to take into account the very likely fact that this fellow probably had ‘issues’ that led him to “ruin his life” in that way. Issues that mentally healthy people do not.  That was the real cause of the problem.  As was the case with a Charedi principal who published his own story (in the now defunct Jewish Observer) of how he got caught up with child pornography on his computer.

As I recall him telling it, he said he never had any issues with child porn until he accidentally chanced upon it one day. Which led to him being caught in a police ‘sting’ operation. (Right!  He wanted us to believe that he was never a pedophile. As if the computer made him become one. Does anyone believe that?)

Nonetheless, Rabbi Lior, like virtually every other Rav in the very right-wing Charedi world of Bnei Brak blames such things on the technology. And not the abnormal psychology of the individual.

This is not to say that there aren’t problems for normal people. Of course there is. Especially for children whom we want to protect from these images. But this community sees a problem and uses the nuclear option to solve it! It is tantamount to killing a patient that has cancer in order to destroy the cancer.  Obvioulsy they see absolutely no value in smart-phones.  Which is why the following happened:

At the end of his sermon, the rabbi recited a brief prayer requesting that God defeat the nation of Amalek, an ancient enemy of the Israelites and Jewish people used as a catchall for evil in general. He then proceeded to smash the offending iPhone with a hammer in front of his audience until it was left in pieces on the table.

I need not mention how absolutely ridiculous this is. Or how much ignorance this shows about the value of iphones. Or how futile this gesture is. Or the possible Chilul HaShem this may be because of how ignorant it makes our rabbis look.

I also seriously doubt there are too many people who bought an iphone who will be moved to rid themselves of it by hearing of this.  Nor do I believe that of those Charedim who do own iphones would ever access pornography – except for those like that elementary school  principlal that have some sort of psychological problem.

One of the things that I believe to be driving this mentality is the idea that it is only a problem for religious Jews. And that the non Jewish world is evil by nature. Or just doesn’t care about it. We are not like the Goyim. We are a holy people! We must separate ourselves from them!  And THIS  is how a Torah Jew deals with it!  THIS is how we are Mekadesh Shem Shamyim – sanctify God’s name!

Really? That is another big mistake they make. There is not a decent parent in the civilized world – Jew or gentile – that isn’t concerned by what goes on in the dark corners of the internet. Pornography is available at a single click of a mouse.Chat rooms abound with pedophiles trying to lure victims into their net all the time. They are good at what they do. They can entice even the nicest and most innocent young girls or boys from the best of homes to come and see them under the most innocent sounding pretext.

This happens every day. Hundreds of times. These rabbis are not the only ones who know that. Everyone does. It is not a secret. We are all in this together – Jew and gentile alike. The Torah world is not unique in its very legitimate ‘fear’ of the internet’s very accessible dark side. That’s why there are filters. Filters -  and guidelines of internet use for children – that were created by non Jews.

No rational person should do to an iphone what Rabbi Lior and many others like him did, smashing it to pieces as though he was destroying Amalek… and treat anyone who uses an iphone as though they were the most vile people on earth!

A far better example for us is the non Jewish “First Family”. From the Daily Mail Online (May 12th):

Barack Obama has revealed that he made his eldest daughter wait until she was 12 before allowing her to have a cell phone. The President said that he finally agreed to give 13-year-old Malia a mobile last year – but banned her from using it during the week. His youngest daughter Sasha, nine, has been told she must wait before being given the same privilege.  During the week neither of the Presidential daughters can use their computers or watch TV for anything except homework either, he added.

This may not be the exact way we should handle it. But it is a lot closer to that than what Rabbi Lior did. I think most rational people realize that smashing iphones is not the way to solve the problems of the internet.

Or do they?

I wonder just how many people are affected by something like this. It isn’t like Rabbi Lior just decided out of the blue to smash an iphone in public. This technology was after all banned by another Bnei Brak Rabbi, whom many consider the Posek HaDor.  And he was not the only Charedi Rav in who banned it! Rabbi Lior and others like him are simply taking their cues from them.

Is it just a few extremists or are there actually mainstream Charedi Jews who so shun the internet that they would resort to smashing them when they find them – as if they were destroying Amalek?  Is this how the world of the right sees it?

Is this the issue they think will destroy the Jewish people more than any other? If that is the case, how are they going to treat the vast majority of Jews who will no doubt ignore this event and the edicts that generated it.  It isn’t only Modern Orthodox Jews that use smart phones. It is the Charedi world too. Like Agudah Executive Director, Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zweibel, who pulled out his Blackberry during a speech he gave about the evils of the internet at the last Agudah convention!

Is there now going to be a new divide among Charedim themselves – the “evil” Charedim who are as vile as Amalek for having an iphone and those who think iphones should be smashed?

I almost hope that is the case. Because if that happens, I welcome the “evil” ones.  Because they are NOT evil.  They are normal. They will survive into the future. Those who smash iphones will isolate themselves into extinction. We should honor those who stay on the rational side of this new divide. And for their courage in just saying NO! to nonesense.

Rabbi Lior: No Need to Worry about Iran Threat

Friday, August 24th, 2012

The Iran threat does not scare Rabbi Dov Lior. The rabbi of Kiryat Arba/Hebron believes that it is forbidden, and there is actually no reason to leave Israel because of a life-threatening situation.

In a halachic response made public in the B’sheva newspaper, Rabbi Lior wrote that “it is clear that the goyim are always plotting and have always been plotting . . . You can go by Auschwitz and see that in the diaspora it’s not safer.”

According to Rabbi Lior, “There’s no justification in running away from Eretz Yisrael because of something like this. We firmly believe that “Hashem will not forsake His nation or abandon His heritage.”

“We believe that the Jewish nation . . . will be saved in any case,” Rabbi Lior stated. “We have a Divine promise about our nation’s existence and, therefore, we don’t have to be concerned about such things.”

Rabbi Lior And The ‘Rule Of Law’

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Approximately a year ago, Rabbi Dov Lior, venerated chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba, gave his approbation on a book about the Jewish laws of war, The King’s Torah, written by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira. Among other issues, the book deals with the legal ramifications of the Israeli army taking action to kill terrorists even when enemy civilians may also be killed in the process. Rabbi Shapira cites numerous Jewish law sources to prove that this is permissible. The Left immediately accused Rabbi Shapira and the rabbis who gave their approbation on his book of incitement to murder. Recently, Rabbi Lior was questioned and arrested. Heated demonstrations by the rabbi’s students ensued.


For my part, I support everyone who protested against Rabbi Lior’s arrest. An evil cabal has taken control of some key positions in the Ministry of Justice and has transformed its public service positions into a tool of destruction. It makes no difference if the reason for their hostility is ideological, or an almost religious hunger for “enlightened” approval – or a combination of both. We must put an end to this despicable behavior.


Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan and his accomplices implement their evil actions within parameters determined by ideology and violence. Law enforcement is totally irrelevant to their actions. Just a few weeks ago, extreme leftist Uri Avnery publicly called for the killing of settlers. He was not called in for any type of questioning. Why not? Avnery and other “lovers of Israel” are on the correct side of the political divide. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef will not be questioned for remarks that would have brought Nitzan’s legions to the doorstep of any religious Zionist rabbi because Nitzan and his accomplices are a gang of weaklings who attack only those weaker than them. They would never dare enforce the law against those who know how to exact a price in the public domain.


When these are the rules of the so-called enlightened game, the public that sees Rabbi Lior as its spiritual leader has no choice but to participate in street protests. These protesters are not just protecting Rabbi Lior. They are also defending the State of Israel’s liberty from a hostile and destructive takeover by an aggressive gang that crushes our society, makes large swaths of our population miserable and endangers many lives. The youth protesting in the streets may not know this, but they are the true defenders of Israeli democracy in the face of a wanton takeover by a tiny and belligerent minority.


The forces of enlightened idol worship, under the guise of legality, have made it impossible for Israel to take such measures as making the prison conditions of terrorists less comfortable in order to free Gilad Shalit. It is impossible to overcome bureaucratic obstacles and authorize massive construction of new homes for young couples. It is impossible for a Jew to pray on the Temple Mount, for the police must protect the rights of the violent Arabs instead of those of the Jews. It is impossible to fight our enemies without an attorney for each soldier. The Israeli “justice” system does not include itself in Israeli life, but instead sees itself as an external factor – not just elevated above the nation, but actually disconnected from it.


If we want to return the justice system to the nation, we must return the nation to its own justice system. At this point, we still do not have a relevant Jewish legal codex for our modern reality, but we certainly have an excellent foundation. As soon as we seriously take Jewish law out of its exile and apply it to all facets of our current existence, it will become the most pertinent justice system for Israel. It will follow the Hebrew language’s rebirth from exile to its current status as the natural language for Israel, and the Jewish nation’s emergence from 2,000 years of exile to its return to its land.

An Unforgivable Sacrilege

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Several days ago, Hebron’s police chief showed up at the home of Rabbi Dov Lior, chief rabbi of Hebron and Kiryat Arba. The officer informed Rabbi Lior that an arrest warrant had been issued. Should the rabbi agree to be interrogated, the warrant would be cancelled. On the spot Rabbi Lior responded, telling him that such questioning represented a “disgrace to the honor of the Torah” and that he would not cooperate with such humiliation.

Why are the police and prosecutor’s office chasing this 77-year-old righteous man? Born in Poland, Rabbi Lior arrived in Israel in 1948, shortly before the creation of the state of Israel. He studied under Rabbi Abraham Kook’s student Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Neria at Kfar HaRoe and later at Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav in Jerusalem under Rabbi Kook’s son, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook. He was considered one of the yeshiva’s most important students. During festive dancing on the Simchat Torah holiday, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda changed the words of a popular song; instead of “tov li, tov li, Toratecha” (Your Torah is good for me), he recited “Dov li, Dov li Toratecha,” paying his young student a great compliment.

In 1976 Rabbi Lior moved to the newly founded community of Kiryat Arba, where he was appointed rosh hayeshiva of the Kiryat Arba-Nir Yeshiva, working side by side with Rabbi Eliezer Waldman. Over the years the rabbi became known as a prominent Torah scholar. However, his teaching involved more than dry rabbinic rulings. He became an active leader in the movement to repopulate Judea, Samaria and Gaza. He spent many summer vacations in Gush Katif. With the rise of the left and the advent of Oslo and the Hebron Accords, he became an outspoken leader, blasting attempts to delegitimize the Israeli right.

He worked tirelessly against the Gush Katif expulsion, making frequent trips to that beleaguered area, giving hope and strength to the local population. He participated in prayer rallies and protests while providing Torah support via various rabbinic rulings needed during those struggles.

Some 25 years ago he was elected chief rabbi of Hebron and Kiryat Arba. Later, he formed the Rabbinic Council for Judea and Samaria and was appointed its leader. He is widely considered be the preeminent rabbinical figure of the Nationalist-Zionist movement and one of the most significant scholarly rabbinical figures in Israel.

Frequently rabbis are requested to write a hascama, an approbation of a Torah book by a younger rabbi. Rabbi Lior, himself the author of thousands of Torah responsa as well as his own books dealing with Torah law, is also approached to write short introductions to Torah books.

So it was that a couple of years ago he agreed to write an approbation for a book titled Torat HaMelech. This scholarly work, written by two young rabbis, deals with relationships between Jews and non-Jews, particularly during situations dealing with life and death during war and other conflicts. Specifically, it details rulings by many Torah giants, from the Talmud down to the present.

Rabbi Lior was not the only Torah scholar asked to write an approbation for this book. Others include Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, also considered an authentic Torah giant; one of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s sons, Rabbi Ya’akov Yosef, a leading Sephardic Torah expert; and the well-known Rabbi Yitzchak Ginzburg.

Among other comments, Rabbi Lior praises the authors for writing such a comprehensive book and including the opinions of so many Torah commentators. He clarifies the significance of understanding Jewish law to its fullest, even when dealing with sensitive topics such as life and death.

As a result of his approbation, Rabbi Lior was accused of incitement and ordered to appear for police interrogation. In a filmed presentation to yeshiva students, Rabbi Lior explained that a rabbi must be able to freely express da’at Torah – that is, the Torah ruling on any given subject – even if that expression is not popular with others. He stressed that a rabbi must never fear to express Truth as it appears in the Torah, even if such a ruling could cause him damage:

“Limiting what a rabbi may say is comparable to Bolshevik regimes of Soviet Russia which would decide what people could think and what they could say . There are certain elements in society who lately want to oppress rabbis, ordering investigations and interrogations, in order to silence them from expressing Torah opinion and this directly contradicts what is known as democracy and freedom of expression. If there is freedom of expression, it must be for everyone. We haven’t heard of those preaching from mosques, inciting against the state of Israel, being arrested and interrogated “

New Freeze Talk Imperils Netanyahu’s Coalition

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Jerusalem – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing his first serious coalition crisis after tentatively agreeing to a new 90-day construction freeze in Judea and Samaria in return for several financial, military and political incentives from President Obama.

The list of incentives includes:

A guaranteed American veto of anti-Israel resolutions in the UN.

Joint U.S.-Israel diplomatic and military efforts designed to thwart Iran’s goal of producing a nuclear weapon.

An additional 20 advanced F-35 stealth strike fighters, gratis, upon Congressional approval. (Israel had already ordered 20 F-35s two months ago for delivery in 2012 at a cost of more than $2.75 billion.)

Also, the White House will not ask for another construction freeze after the 90-day moratorium expires, even if renewed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations do not produce an agreement during the moratorium; the construction freeze will only apply to Judea and Samaria and have no bearing on continued construction throughout Jerusalem; the U.S. will grant Israel nearly $20 billion in special military aid if Israel and the Palestinians reach an interim peace deal with agreed upon borders; and Israel and the U.S. will sign a formal military defense pact sometime in the next few months.

Despite the enticing list of incentives, Netanyahu, fresh off his seven-hour meeting in New York last week with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, found himself on the receiving end of severe criticism from senior ranking members of his cabinet, including Deputy Prime Minister (and former IDF chief of staff) Moshe Ya’alon.

“Defense Minister Ehud Barak cooked up this deal, which no one has seen on paper and appears to have as many holes as Swiss cheese,” Ya’alon says he told the prime minister during a private gathering of the “Forum of 7,” a group of senior Likud Party ministers thought to be close to Netanyahu.

The newspaper Yisrael Hayomreported that Ya’alon was so angry with Netanyahu for letting “Barak call the shots” and caving in to Palestinian demands without getting anything in return that he was seriously considering halting any political cooperation with the prime minister.

A number of Likud Knesset members met Monday to discuss setting up a “rebellious voting faction” within the party to pressure Netanyahu not to accede to American and Palestinian demands. MK Yariv Levin told The Jewish Press that if Netanyahu agreed to a new freeze, “he would lose my vote in the Knesset.”

“This is slippery slope without a happy ending,” he added. “What happens when there is no agreement at the end of 90 days? Everyone knows the Palestinians will walk away again.”

The three-member Jewish Home faction has already informed Netanyahu that if the cabinet approves a new freeze in Judea and Samaria, the party will bolt the government, leaving Netanyahu with both a narrower ruling coalition and a fledgling rebel faction within his own Likud Party.

YESHA Council Director Naftali Bennett, who once served as Netanyahu’s chief of staff, pointed out to The Jewish Press that “Three weeks ago, Netanyahu committed to the Israeli public and to the entire world that he would make no further concessions or renew the freeze unless the Palestinians first recognized Israel as the Jewish state. Now he’s seemed to drop this critical condition. If Netanyahu caves under American and Palestinian pressure, he’ll be ridiculed by the entire world. The Middle East is a tough neighborhood and its primary currency is strength and integrity. We hope the prime minister won’t throw his away.”

Senior Likud members say the next several days will be critical in determining whether the freeze controversy will force Netanyahu to make changes in his coalition. Many expect the freeze to pass in the cabinet by a narrow margin, because of the expected abstention by two Shas Party members.

Shas Minister Eli Yishai, who has long opposed another freeze, now says that “There’s a freeze going on anyway de facto, both in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria. It’s better to make it official, to limit its duration and to receive in exchange approval to build in Jerusalem, than to freeze unofficially forever.”

Meanwhile, Likud MK Danny Danon discussed the proposed freeze extension in an emergency meeting Sunday with a number of Likud activists and elected officials from towns in Judea and Samaria.

Danon termed the proposal “another bad move by the Obama administration. It is strange that the results of the elections in the United States did not turn on a huge warning light for Obama that the way to justify his Nobel prize is not through pressuring Israel.”

Danon called on Likud ministers and other nationalist ministers not to give in to American demands and not to be blinded by the package of benefits the U.S. has offered Israel. Obama knows, he said, that “freeze or no freeze, Americans will always side with Israel.”

Rabbi Dov Lior, chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba and one of the leading religious-Zionist rabbis, also urged Netanyahu to stand firm in the face of pressure.

In a letter to the prime minister, Rabbi Lior wrote: “You have merited the task of representing our nation in one of the most difficult periods in the process of our nation’s redemption, and therefore you are obliged to stand as a rock in the face of all of our enemies who seek to hurt us.

“In this difficult hour for the State of Israel, which is facing harsh pressure from the nations of the world, and especially from the ‘western power,’ to give up our right to our historic homeland, I am taking the step of wishing you ‘chazak ve’ematz’ [be strong and firm] from the heights of the Judean Mountains, the birthplace of the Kingdom of Israel, the place where our holy Forefathers rest, and the location in which Israel’s greatest leaders lived and acted in the past.”

Rabbi Lior wrote of the spiritual fortitude of Israel’s forefathers, and hoped the prime minister “will merit to [absorb] from the greatness of these people the mental strength and ability to stand firm.”

(Supplemental reporting by INN)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/global/new-freeze-talk-imperils-netanyahus-coalition/2010/11/17/

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