A few important lessons can be learned from the following story.
Following the Yohrzeit of the murder of Baruch Goldstein, HY”D, orders were given by the authorities to “take care” of those who praised Baruch Goldstein or wrote articles in the memorial book, “Baruch HaGever”. Since according to police records I fell into both of the above categories, it was only a matter of time before I would be called upon by the police. And indeed, after searching for me for some time, I was brought to the local precinct and investigated.
Apparently, during their efforts to search me down, a large number of charges piled up on their desk. And so the interrogator sat across from me, pulling out one file after another. One on a rally we had in Jerusalem, another concerning a restriction order prohibiting me from entering Hebron, Shchem, and Jericho. The fascinating part is that until now, they had been “unable” to inform me about these restriction orders, and now, two weeks before their validity date expired, they took the opportunity to give them to me. Then we finally got to the main event: “You are charged with expressing praise for Baruch Goldstein during an Israeli television interview by saying that he is a symbol for the people. What is your reaction?” I answered him that the subject is a halachic one, and thereforeI didn’t think that the police have much knowledge in this field, and were thus incapable of properly passing judgment over me. The investigator listened, wrote it down, and continued onward.
Next charge – the publication of an article in the book, “Baruch HaGever”. Iwas surprised. The list of “crimes” would make any criminal proud. Incitement to racism, supporting a terror organization, encouraging acts ofviolence, and last but not least – contempt of court. “Contempt of court?”, I thought to myself. What is THAT?? Only then did I remember that in the article, the Israeli court system was harshly criticized. The juiciest part, I remembered, were the words of Rabeinu Bechayei on the strict prohibition to appear before courts that carry out gentile law. I thought of how interesting it would be to be grilled together with Rabeinu Bechayei.
I declared before the interrogator that I cannot cooperate with this investigation, since to the best of my knowledge, the Israeli police do not possess the necessary means to carry out justice in such a case since thearticle I wrote is based on the Jewish “halacha”, and thus there is nothing to talk about. The interrogator insisted: “But what do you YOURSELF say about the article you wrote?” I answered him with a question: “You are investigating me on a specific article. Tell me – are you familiar with the investigation material? Did you even read the article?” He was openly embarrassed, and quickly wrapped up the interrogation. After all, he is trained to conduct investigations dealing with drugs and prostitution. Whenwas the last time he had to probe quotes from Rabeinu Bechayei?
Before leaving the station, I talked with some of the policemen. One of them mentioned the book “Baruch HaGever”, and I immediately asked him, “Nu, Baruch isn’t a gever?” He answered me with a grin, “You’re trying to get me into trouble; I say Baruch is a gever and then they’ll start investigating ME about supporting a terrorist organization…” Another younger and less experienced cop spontaneously expressed his admiration for Baruch Goldstein, and spoke of Ami Popper. I can only wish that young police officer that he was not somehow being recorded. After all, anything can happen in the democratic state in which we live..