The Rabbinical Congress for Peace (RCP) comprised of close to one thousand pulpit rabbis in Israel and abroad convened an emergency meeting this week to discuss the evacuation-compensation bill being proposed by Vice Premier Chaim Ramon and supported by many other ministers
Ramon proposes that the government offer the hundreds of thousands of settlers in Judea and Samaria monetary incentives to relocate to the Negev and give up this territory to the Palestinians. "Everything east of the security fence will not be under Israeli sovereignty. We can control the (Jordan) Valley form a security sense, but we're talking about sovereignty," said Ramon.
The Rabbis were briefed by security experts who warned against such a dangerous move from a security point of view. "It's appalling," said Rabbi Moshe Havlin, Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Gat. "Despite the bitter experiences from the past, we are shocked at the total blindness that has struck the decision makers in Israel today." "How is it possible that while we still are suffering from the fatal consequences and threats posed by the disengagement from Gaza there are still those that contemplate further withdrawals?" he asked.
Rabbi Yaakov Yosef son of Shas leader Rabbi Ovadye Yosef and Rabbi of Givat Moshe in Jerusalem proposed that the RCP issue a call to all its rabbis to take advantage of the High Holidays when the synagogues are packed to awaken the hearts of the masses against the government's plans.
"We must tell the nation what is really happening. The Jewish Code of Law, hundreds of years ago, warned what would happen if you give up territory to your enemies regardless of what form the agreement may be, and now, after the evacuation from Gaza we see glaringly how accurate the Torah's warning is. Just imagine what kind of catastrophic consequences there will be, G-d forbid, if we continue this policy of withdrawals," said Rabbi Yosef.
Rabbi Avrohom Shmuel Lewin, Execurive Secretary of the RCP described the evacuation –compensation bill "immoral and a criminal act." "The question whether Israel should remain on its borders to defend over 6 million Jews who reside in Israel has nothing to do with the personal lives of the residents of Judea and Samaria. The notion that monetary incentives can absolve the Israeli government from defending Jews in Israel is harmful and absurd," he said.
Rabbi Joseph Gerlitzky, Chairman of the RCP and Rabbi of Central Tel Aviv, read out the resolutions of the meeting that will be sent to all Rabbis in Israel and public figures. He said that now with the start of a New Year the government has an opportunity to do some genuine soul searching and express deep regret and to start out the new year with a completely different approach than the one they took until now.
a) The Rabbinical Congress for Peace is calling on the new Israeli government to express deep regret and ask forgiveness from the nation of Israel for all the withdrawals they implemented in the last years, ask forgiveness merely speaking and issuing statements about withdrawals and concessions that have directly and indirectly led to hundreds of deaths and injuries.
b) The RCP calls on all the parties in the Knesset to declare publicly that the first and foremost condition to enter the new coalition is to place a veto on any negotiations relating to withdrawing from Israeli territory. This conforms with the Ruling in the Jewish Code of Law (Orach Chaim Chapter 329) that determines that is it forbidden to negotiate with them even about straw or hay but to go out to war against them."
c) 3) The RCP calls on every pulpit rabbi in Israel to use their sermons to protest the dangerous path that the government has taken and dire consequences that it leads to, it will just bring more bloodshed in the Holy Land and instability in the region.
d) D) The RCP wishes all Jews in Israel and abroad that this year should be a year of true peace and security, a year in which Israel's prestige will be enhanced in the spirit of our Torah, a good and sweet year.