Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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2 Av 5760 - August 3, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Opinion & Comment
Genuine Peace

by HaRav Avrohom Yosef Shapira

The following address was said at the Knesset following the return of HaRav AY. Shapira z'l to serve as a MK after being hospitalized. The topic of the speech was peace with Jordan and it was delivered in Av, 5754

My dear chairman, honorable Knesset members: before I begin speaking I want to express my gratitude to HaKodosh Boruch Hu, Who made it possible for me to return here, and I wish to thank all the ministers and Knesset members who visited me in hospital and wished me a speedy recovery. I hope, with Hashem's help, that from now on I will be able to continue to serve my community and the gedolei Torah. For their sake I am sitting here and by their zechus I was given the privilege to return here.

I want to speak a little about peace with Jordan. We, the United Torah Jewry party, enthusiastically support this peace. We feel it is peace for peace's sake and not a peace whose aim is to destroy us. It is not a peace with Arafat, who even now had not stopped for one moment demanding a Palestinian state and who wants Yerushalayim as its capital. Although the Foreign Minister constantly declares that Arafat is talking nonsense, unfortunately we are well acquainted with Arafat. He is not speaking nonsense; this is exactly what he intends. On the other hand, despite the fact of our having waged bloody wars against Jordan, we are happily accepting any peace arrangement with them. Not only we, but almost the whole Knesset wants peace with them.

The government must learn from this. I am saying to the Prime Minister that he should realize how worthwhile it is to reach a broad national consensus. The Jewish Nation is one nation and not half a nation. The Jewish Nation has always stood together as one nation. When it stands as one it always succeeds. Instead of, cholila, using violent figures of speech, such as calling each other hoodlums and traitors, with a broad national consensus we can accomplish much more.

We must be extremely careful. As a result of our satisfaction over establishing peace [with Jordan] an air line between Aqaba and Eilat will open and tourists will arrive from Egypt. Eilat should not be turned into a Los Vegas; no casino should be set up in Eilat. We should not be mechalel Shabbos in order to develop tourism. People traveling back and forth can, cholila, fall into intermarriage.

We must remember that our goal is to be "a light for the nations" and not to "be like all the nations." Intermarriage must not increase and the darkness of the nations must not enwrap Eilat.

We see that this time the Prime Minister called every party and spoke with its leaders. This is the way that brings results. Not everyone is delighted with this peace, and about certain points there are misgivings. We, the UTJ, have expressed our reservations and have told the Prime Minister that we should not talk about the status of the Temple Mount, which is Mt. Moriah. This is the most sacred place of them all for the Jewish Nation. Although we honor Hussein, we cannot offer him any standing concerning the Temple Mount. The Prime Minister said, and I believe him, that the government's promise concerns only the places that are important for Islam and not our sacred places. Furthermore, he emphasized, we are not talking about a special standing but only about free access to these place, since Yerushalayim will always remain our city until the Moshiach comes.

I want to request that the government ask Arafat to stop his futile declarations. I esteem all of the efforts being made by the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister. Both of them have a great part in the progress towards peace. But everything depends upon whom we are making peace with. Making "peace" with Arafat is simply putting us in mortal danger. The PLO has never stopped killing Jews. About Hussein we are sure that he currently intends to make peace and not war. Instead of engaging in internal strife, it is preferable for us to unite and tell Arafat unequivocally that if he does not stop voicing his nonsense right now, we will not make any peace agreement with him.

@Big Let Body=I also want to ask the government to stop the war over digging up graves. Yesterday a protest demonstration was made by fifteen thousand Jews. People should realize that tens of thousands of Jews will not allow Jewish graves to be dug up, just as throughout the world we protest when a Jewish graveyard is touched.

We are not waging a war against archaeology. Everyone knows that the archaeologists are doing important work. Our campaign is against their digging up Jewish graves. At this opportunity I want to thank the current leader for stopping the diggings. He understood that it is necessary to wait a week and hear the opinion of the Chief Rabbinate. We must realize that it is impossible to ignore tens of thousands of Jews. We will not allow damage to Jewish graves.

We will insure that this peace does not bring any tumah, will not cause intermarriage, and will not bring darkness upon Eilat. The opposite should happen. Precisely now, when in the golus grave problems of terrorism exist, we should bring many Jews here and provide them with a traditional Jewish education. At this opportunity I want to address the Education Minister. I heard that the general educational system has decreased its quota of religious studies.

I want to say that this nation has nothing more important than religious studies. Without them we become like all the other nations. If in Israel everyone is given a religious education, then a lawyer will not be killed in the middle of the night by a thief. This lawlessness, this permissiveness, is a result of defective education. We need to unite, and I turn to both parts of the public represented in the Knesset: instead of verbal violence, instead of cursing, it is preferable to unite for peace and for the sake of the Jewish Nation.


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