The Rabbinical Congress for Peace (RCP) yesterday convened an emergency meeting that dealt with the current negotiations to divide Jerusalem thereby placing in mortal danger hundreds of thousands of Jews. Following the meeting the Rabbis issued a statement saying that "the ironic part of it all is that it is precisely the ultra-orthodox Shas party that refuses to bolt the coalition and is paving the way for this tragedy to happen."
The Rabbis stressed that this constitutes an unprecedented desecration of G-d's Name. "The mere fact of sitting in a coalition that divides Jerusalem claiming that they are there to preserve the interests of the ultra-orthodox camp is destructive and incongruous. It precipitates the division of the Holy City and shows that Shas is not concerned with the dangerous consequences and ominous threat to hundreds of thousands of people that this act poses," read the statement.
At the meeting one of the rabbis asked "Is Shas saying that a matter of life or death is not an ultra-orthodox interest?!" He quoted the prayer that Jews say on the ninth of the month of Menachem Av in the Jewish calendar which commemorates the destruction of both Holy Temples in Jerusalem thousands of years ago. In that prayer Jews pray "Oh G-d console the mourners of Zion and the mourners of Jerusalem, and the city that is mournful, ruined, scorned and desolate….legions have devoured her and idolaters have conquered her…Therefore Zion weeps bitterly and Jerusalem raises her voice…"
How can Shas ministers say this prayer when they with their own bare hands are allowing legions to enter and destroy Jerusalem?!" the rabbi asked.
The Rabbis mentioned the statement made by the Shas Council of Torah Sages that the Shas Party will leave the coalition the moment it starts negotiating Jerusalem. "Every novice journalist in the world and anyone listening to the news in Israel knows that giving up large chunks of Jerusalem has been on the negotiating table for quite some time and is in its advanced stages. Only the representatives of Shas are burying their heads in the ground and pretend they know of nothing. They are lying to themselves and deceiving their electorate. The Shas ministers know that PM Ehud Olmert and Palestinian leader Abu Mazen have agreed not to make public any agreement on Jerusalem until after the final signature in order to keep Shas in the government." said an RCP statement.
Rabbi Avrohom Shmuel Lewin, Director-General of the RCP said: "You can fool part of the people part of the time but you can't fool all the people all the time. How long does Shas think that it will be able to fool the world as though they don't know that negotiations over Jerusalem are in their advanced stages?! Do they really think that the nation's memory is that short that it has forgotten that this is the same way they behaved in 1993 before the Oslo accords were adopted, a disaster that led to the murder of thousands of victims.
If Shas will continue to support the government , the RCP is seriously considering issuing a statement signed by the hundreds of rabbis of the organization declaring that it is absolutely forbidden for any observant Jew to vote for a party that lent its support to a government that negotiated the division of Jerusalem, a move that will place the entire population in Israel in mortal danger.
The RCP also resolved to organize regional demonstrations by the local rabbis urging Shas supporters to write to Shas Minister Eli Yishai urging him to bolt the coalition. The RCP has asked all Shas supporters to quote in their letters to Yishai, Mordechai's words to Queen Esther when she hesitated to go to the King to save the Jews "And who knows whether it was just for such a time as this that you attained the royal position."
The RCP expressed the hope that Shas and the Israeli government will come to their senses in the last minute and will not bring down on us this catastrophe. "It is still not too late to return to the path of the Torah and Jewish Code of Law that determines (in Shulchan Oruch Volume Orach Chaim Chapter 329) that the only way to bring peace and security to Israel is by not conceding one inch of the land of Israel to foreigners, because it is not territory that you are ceding but human life," read the RCP statement.
The statement was signed by: Rabbi Moshe Havlin, Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Gat, Rabbi Avrohom S. Lewin, Director General of the RCP, Rabbi Joseph Gerlitzky, Chairman of the RCP and Rabbi of Central Tel Aviv, Rabbi Meir Horowitz, son of the Bostoner Rebbe Shlitah and Rov of the Bostoner Community and Rabbi Sholom Gold, Rabbi in Har Nof, Jerusalem