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Thursday
Jan102013

EVACUATE SETTLEMENTS 
IN HONOR OF SHABBOS? 

“If they have to evacuate an outpost, they shouldn’t do it on Shabbos,” said Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett. In other words, he essentially has no problem with the fact that they’re destroying other Jewish homes, just as long as they don’t do any work on Shabbos. These politicians have totally failed to internalize the simple message that destroying Jewish homes is forbidden according to Shulchan Aruch, Sec. 329, just as the Torah forbids violating the Shabbos. Therefore, an IDF soldier is absolutely forbidden to carry out an expulsion order against Jews, and it makes no difference whether it’s done on Friday night or Sunday afternoon.

Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

WHY DOES THE REBBE OPPOSE AUTONOMY?

Recently, an Israeli politician was a guest on one of the public affairs television programs for a pre-election interview. The host introduced him, and then proceeded to make an analysis of the political map in Eretz Yisroel today. He explained to the viewers where each party is currently positioned ideologically, outlining their respective political paths. The politician in the studio was stunned. He couldn’t believe that there was someone in the public eye who could make a distinction today between the Meretz Party and the Jewish Home Party, or anything else in between.

There was a time when discussing autonomy was done exclusively by the more extreme left-wing elements. Only small and relatively insignificant political parties would even dare to raise the issue publicly. Today, however, autonomy is considered the ideological property of right-wing parties, fighting over the question whether to establish a demilitarized “Palestinian” state or merely an independent autonomous regime with necessary transportation and communication links.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that this election campaign is being conducted primarily on socioeconomic issues, as the various political parties seek to put foreign affairs and defense on the back burner. The official reason is the public protests last summer against the economic crisis and perceived social injustice. However, there’s another more significant reason, which all the parties are talking about with equal measure. Each of them has its respective defense policy professing to one form of concession or another while preserving the settlement blocs. The differences between them are relatively minor: giving the Arabs autonomy over the territory under their control or an independent state recognized by the United Nations.

It seems rather astonishing that the prime minister and his cohorts attacked the president of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres, who last week expressed his personal opinion on “striving for the establishment of a Palestinian state.” The leaders of the Likud-Yisroel Beiteinu Party, who are trying to flash their nationalist credentials to right-wing voters, used the opportunity to attack Mr. Peres, as if they aren’t the ones advancing the two-state solution. For his part, Peres enlisted the help of one of his predecessors, Mr. Yitzchak Navon, who expressed his puzzlement over the Likud’s public condemnations. He reminded them that a Palestinian state had long since been placed on the national agenda by the official policy positions of the Likud Party.

Similarly, we heard the recent uproar over the issue of refusing orders to expel Jews from their homes. After the media onslaught subsided, it turned out that the whole argument was between the more official line, requiring that soldiers follow orders without hesitation, and the “conscientious unwillingness to carry out orders.” However, in practical terms, even the latter approach ultimately demands the soldier’s complete obedience. These are the nuances of the differing ideologies that virtually no one really understands. Only a select few find any consolation in these questionable rulings to permit the expulsion of Jews, with the understanding that the soldiers’ commanding officers had been informed that they didn’t want to carry out such orders – as if that changes things.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AUTONOMY AND A PALESTINIAN STATE?

When we review the Rebbe’s sichos on the subject of shleimus ha’aretz, we discover that the main reason for rejecting territorial compromise is the security argument, as brought in Shulchan Aruch, Sec. 329. Giving the Arabs control over a certain land area, even if it’s only administrative in nature, i.e. for the purpose of granting autonomy, enables them to plan and carry out terrorist attacks, thereby jeopardizing the security of the Jewish People. Furthermore, when the talks begin about granting autonomy to the Arabs, this creates a slippery slope that will lead rather quickly to an independent terror state capable of placing the lives of millions of Jews in Eretz Yisroel in mortal danger.

Anyone who thinks that there’s a difference between autonomy and a Palestinian state should take a good look at our friends in the Likud Party. Yitzchak Shamir, considered the party’s ideological symbol, started his career with the idea of autonomy. However, the reality of the situation rapidly deteriorated thereafter. All those who want to hide behind appeasement and capitulation to the Arabs are using the concept of autonomy as their convenient partition.

In fact, all those who have agreed to give the Arabs a foothold in Eretz Yisroel have essentially conceded the rights of the Jewish People to their one and only homeland, given to them by G-d Alm-ghty as an everlasting inheritance. The Rebbe spoke on this subject in the sharpest and most adamant terms. He left no room for compromise, rejecting any suggestion to propose policies on relinquishing parts of Eretz Yisroel. It makes no difference if we call it Area C or Area A. According to Torah, there are no distinctions between the various descriptions of the geopolitical map. The entire Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel, and it is forbidden to allow any other nation to lay claim upon it, because it was given to us by G-d as written in the Torah. Above all, it is surely forbidden to permit the establishment of an independent Islamic terrorist regime, which has already proven that every region placed under its complete control quickly turns into a murderous terror stronghold.

THE STORY OF OZ TZIYON

During the previous Shabbos weekend, the red line on destroying outposts on Shabbos was crossed yet again. This is not some new phenomenon. Last year, numerous outposts were destroyed on Shabbos, as soldiers were obligated to desecrate the holy day of rest to fulfill the mission of expelling Jews. Such incidents began back in the days of “Chomesh First,” when young people would go each week and make Shabbos on the ruins of the Chomesh settlement in the northern Shomron. Subsequently, soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces would be sent each Shabbos to drive them out. This series of Shabbos desecrations became a part of the weekly routine for IDF operations in Yehuda and Shomron.

At Oz Tziyon, the situation was slightly different, due to the fact that we are in the midst of an election campaign. The IDF came close to sundown to expel the young people who had come to spend Shabbos there. However, the army suddenly realized that they didn’t have ready access to a bulldozer to destroy the outpost, which would require a cleanup operation right in the middle of Shabbos. All this had happened before. Then, settlement leaders decided to turn to a few right-wing politicians, who made certain to postpone the evacuation until Motzaei Shabbos.

The young people, who had made Shabbos at the outpost together with the chief rabbi of Tzfas, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, managed to get over the violent tactics of the soldiers from that Friday, and they eventually enjoyed a most uplifting Shabbos experience. Once Shabbos was over, the forces of destruction returned and tore down the outpost, while inflicting brute force upon the youngsters who had gathered there. Video cameras recorded the event, and the films clearly show a soldier blatantly pushing an elderly white-bearded Jew down to the ground, reminiscent of something out of the Dark Ages.

Most regrettably, the reaction that eventually came from the right-wing politicians was cautious at best. “If they have to evacuate an outpost, they shouldn’t do it on Shabbos,” said Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett. In other words, he essentially has no problem with the fact that they’re destroying other Jewish homes, just as long as they don’t do any work on Shabbos. These politicians have totally failed to internalize the simple message that destroying Jewish homes is forbidden according to Shulchan Aruch, Sec. 329, just as the Torah forbids violating the Shabbos. Therefore, an IDF soldier is absolutely forbidden to carry out an expulsion order against Jews, and it makes no difference whether it’s done on Friday night or Sunday afternoon.

“THE SPIES”: THEY ABANDONED US

Last week, we reached the agonizing conclusion to one of the most bizarre affairs to have occurred in Eretz Yisroel during the past year. The story began last winter, when IDF soldiers were sent out in the middle of the night to drag women and children out of their beds and then destroy their homes. A certain group of young settlers decided that such traumatic occurrences could no longer be tolerated. They put together an improvised “war room” to observe IDF forces in action, and in the event that they noticed anything peculiar, they would immediately alert the outpost residents standing watch and enlist their help in a timely manner. The intended purpose was to prevent any future expulsions, which had already left deep emotional scars upon many families, especially their children.

When the military authorities discovered these covert activities, the response was swift and harsh. The army and the General Security Services went on a rampage, demanding that the “perpetrators” be tried for espionage, no less. The trial lasted for nearly for a year, during which the accused were under house arrest in Yerushalayim and later at their homes in Yehuda and Shomron. They endured the torment of the prosecution and the scheming of the judicial system. Many of the defendants are fathers of young children, and were deprived of making a living or even leaving the confines of their homes during the trial. Despite last week’s bombastic statements, the affair concluded with limited indictments, as all charges of espionage were withdrawn. Even the judges found insufficient proof to try the settlers on such serious accusations. The nationalist community was quick to praise the court for acquitting them on most of the charges.

However, there were those who were unable to rejoice over the end of this story. While most of the accused had been acquitted, some of them will be sent to serve long prison sentences, leaving their wives and children behind. “We are now after a very difficult period of time,” the wife of Akiva HaKohen from Yitzhar, one of the leading defendants in this trial, said last week. “He was arrested, and then endured lengthy house arrests in Yerushalayim and later at our home in Yitzhar. These men were not spies engaged in underground activities. These were just people who knew the trauma of hearing someone pounding at your door in the middle of the night to drag women and children out of their beds. They simply didn’t want their friends to go through such a horrible experience.” She told how her family has been left to fend for itself, while her husband is now expected to endure the hardships of prison.

The spying affair represented yet another case where the Israeli justice system crossed a red line. However, the Israeli public cannot remain silent in the face of this injustice. They must cry out and bring an end to this ridiculous imprisonment. They saw how the High Court of Justice sanctioned the election campaign of the female Arab Knesset Member who participated in the terror flotilla designed to engage in combat against IDF soldiers, claiming that her actions did not constitute a violation of the law. We must now raise our voices in protest against the demand to imprison people whose only crime was to monitor the actions of its armed forces.

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