One of the senior rabbis of the religious Zionist community, Rabbi Dov Lior, issued a strongly-worded letter of support for Rabbi Tao this morning (Tuesday), sharply criticizing the rabbis and journalists who have conducted a lynch against him. Rabbi Lior's letter follows a letter from Rabbi Yaakov Medan, calling for an investigation into the allegations.
In his letter, Rabbi Lior expresses deep shock at the fact that there are severe accusations being circulated in public, and even a rush to judgment, without any proper investigation. He further adds that in cases where serious allegations arise, they should be discreetly examined in a court of law and not in a public trial.
In his letter, Rabbi Lior writes, "We have been deeply dismayed for several months by the hearing of severe defamation, harsh slander, strange and grave accusations against Rabbi Zvi Yisrael Tao, Shlita, which are written and widely disseminated everywhere. To our sorrow, these accusations have even led to physical and verbal violence against an eminent Torah scholar. Especially in a generation where degradation is prevalent, we are guided by the words of our sages that one who humiliates a Torah scholar, there is no remedy for his wound, and the Almighty is more concerned with the honor of the righteous than His own honor."
Furthermore, Rabbi Lior adds that in general, in cases where serious allegations with substance arise, they should be discreetly clarified in a rabbinical court, in accordance with proper halachic (Jewish law) procedures. "Our Torah commands us not to bear false witness, and our sages taught us not to believe, hear, and certainly not to write publicly, defamatory words that have not been clarified through proper means and certainly not with unwarranted audacity, not against any person, let alone a righteous Torah scholar in his actions and God-fearing in his character. In general, in cases where serious allegations arise, they should be clarified discreetly, in a rabbinical court, according to the appropriate rules of halachic justice."
In the continuation of the letter, Rabbi Lior clarifies that joining in condemnation without investigation leads to a lynch and aligning with grave injustices, often accompanied by verbal and legal aggression, and even the degradation of Torah scholars. According to the Rabbi in his letter, "We are in a time when there is an attack on everything sacred, especially on Torah scholars who stand as a barrier against the powerful forces of a sinful culture. It is the duty of both the public and individuals to be sensitive to injustices, find ways to mitigate them, and at the same time, not to be drawn into public trials and align with even graver injustices involving verbal and legal aggression and the degradation of Torah scholars."
Towards the end of his words, Rabbi Lior also criticized the prosecution and investigative departments that have steadily declined in their public trust in recent years. "Especially in these months, when so much has been exposed, the need for a serious examination in accordance with Israeli legal procedures is evident. We must be cautious and understand that we should not believe media outlets that thrive on spreading rumors, but rather seek the truth from credible sources only after a thorough and lawful inquiry. May we, with God's help, attain personal and public truth, and increase and enhance the purity and honor of Torah," Rabbi Dov Lior concludes his letter.