Since Israelis are extremely adverse to boredom, here's a quick summary of one of our many exciting stories running in the background, and then a comment on how it's reported by our enemies.
The story is about a book published last year by two rabbis, Yitzchak Shapira and Yosef Elizur. Its title is Torat HaMelech, the Law of the King. The book explains the conditions in which it is permissible intentionally to kill innocent non-Jews: what we call murder. I haven't read it and have no intention of doing so, but by all accounts it's an abomination. Most book stores don't sell it, thankfully.
It clearly flirts with the limits of what is permissible to say in a democracy. Is it a literal example of shouting fire in a crowded theater? Probably not, though you'd have to read it to know, but it may fall within the metaphorical range of such a shout.
The police are looking into it. The Shabak is, too, and that's noteworthy since the Shabak, unlike it's American FBI counterpart, deals almost exclusively with security matters, not regular crime; also, the Shabak unlike the police reports directly to the prime minister. The High Court of Justice is involved, too, and last month declined to intervene for the time being after having been briefed by the Shabak about the ongoing investigation. At least one of the two authors has been arrested, and the investigation and interrogations have branched out to include rabbis who have publicly recommended the book.
This branching out has sparked a broader furor. Criminal and security investigations into arcane halachic discussions are sensitive but given the gravity of the allegations no-one objected. Calling in rabbis for participating in a halachic discussion tripped a new wire, especially at a moment when university professors have been strident in protecting their right to say whatever they wish, and artists on the public payroll likewise. So recently there was a conference in Jerusalem with some 250 participants, at which a series of rabbis, some of them quite respectable, got up and announced that while they hadn't read the book and probably wouldn't agree with it if they did, they sharply condemned the interference in rabbinical discussions.
Other rabbis, however, including some heavyweights such as Shlomo Aviner, Yuval Sherlo, Yaacov Meidan and others, have sharply castigated the book; Yaacov Meidan, head of the largest and most important yeshiva on the West Bank (Har Etzion) said the book should be burned. Otniel Schneller, a former leader of the settlers who has moved to the center and now represents Kadima in the Knesset, rejected calls for legislation that would grant rabbis the same legal status of professors, saying that professors merely talk, while rabbis have followers, they're more important than professors, and therefore must be held to higher standards.
You can find numerous links to the story, mostly in Hebrew, here, here, here, here, here etc.
So far, a reasonable, careful response to a scandalous book in a democracy.
Now, read Max Blumenthal's description, and see if you can find any similarity to the reality. Notice how he refrains from telling the parts of the story which don't fit into his malicious portrayal. He outrageously inflates the significance of the supporters of the book by repeatedly claiming that Rav Lior was once the chief rabbi of the IDF, which he never was, and on the contrary he's known for his tirades against the IDF for following government policies he doesn't like. He conflates the story of the matter of an outrageous book with the matter of Rav Ovadia Yosef's recent hope that God (not men) will punish Israel's Palestinian enemies (which I've already explained in context). He accuses that the attorney general and the prime minister are silent while rabbis call for violence, somehow overlooking their direct subordinates who are running the investigation.
The reason I've gone out of my way to refute Blumenthal, a well-known loathsome propagandist for Israel's enemies, is that a friend yesterday forwarded me an e-mail from someone who may be an ordinary, well-meaning, but seriously uninformed American Jew, who was deeply troubled by Blumenthal's report. Had he read the report on a Hamas website, he'd not even have read it. But Blumenthal can engage in Hamas-style propaganda and be listened to, at least by the uninformed, since he's Jewish, he's in Jerusalem, and he uses similar words, if not sentences, to those used by legitimate critics of Israeli actions.