Police on Thursday morning detained Rabbi Dov Haiyun, a leader of the Conservative community in Haifa, for conducting a Chupah outside the framework of the Rabbanut.
Police arrived at Haiyun’s home at 5:00AM Wednesday, 7 Menachem Av, taking him in for questioning for breaking the law by conducting the illegal wedding ceremony. Police report the rabbi had been served a summons, called to appear before the Rabbanut’s Beis Din, and when it was ignored, the matter was handed over to police.
According to the Haifa Rabbinate, the wedding in question involved a Mamzer, one born as a result of an extramarital affair. The Rabbinate adds Haiyun regularly marries persons in contrary to Halacha, including Kohanim to divorcees, or in this case, a Mamzer, calling his actions “criminal”.
Haiyun said, “I am not a felon, a murderer or a criminal. I perform chupahs in Israel and will continue doing so”.
Haiyun added, “It’s hard to think of a less Jewish action before Tisha B’Av”, citing how police have been called in at the behest of the religious beis din, calling it “A sad day for Israeli democracy”.
Haiyun is represented by the head of Hiddush, the NGO for religious pluralism aligned with the Reform Movement, attorney Uri Regev. Regev called the actions of police outrageous, and he plans to file a protest with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit regarding the behavior of police.
Ironically, Haiyun was scheduled to lecture in the President’s Residence on Thursday, to give a lecture on Tisha B’Av. He was set to appear with rabbis of different denominations, including Rosh Yeshivat Har Etzion, Rabbi Yaakov Medan.
There were audible voices of outrage and complaint heard from the opposition, including the Yesh Atid party, which called the arrest of Haiyun “madness resulting from chareidi coercion”.
On the other side of the political spectrum, Ichud Leumi, which is a member of the coalition and part of Bayit Yehudi issued a statement, “Even Conservative Rabbis are required to observe the law”.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit put the brakes on the police investigation, ruling on Thursday not to hold a criminal investigation against Haiyun. In a letter issued by the attorney general, written after Haiyun was summoned and released by police, the attorney general instructed police not to summon him for questioning in a criminal investigation until the completion of the investigation as to whether his actions raise suspicion of a criminal offense. This means Haiyun is not obligated to return for questioning next week as police instructed him.
Haiyun runs the Conservative Synagogue in Haifa. Following his arrest, questioning and release, he used his Facebook page to describe the ordeal, how police banged on his door at 5:00AM, and two policemen informed him he must come for questioning.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)