Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

2 Iyar 5765 - May 11, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Are Chareidim to Blame for the Disengagement Plan?

Last Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz visited Maran HaRav Eliashiv, at the Defense Minister's request, at his home. In the course of the conversation, the Defense Minister asked HaRav Eliashiv several questions about evacuating the batei knesset and the private homes in Gush Katif. He also asked several questions about risks to soldiers involved in the evacuation process. Maran shlita responded to the questions as asked.

On Sunday Hatsofe, the newspaper that identifies itself as dati-leumi-Tzioni, published a "reaction" to that meeting that went beyond all acceptable boundaries. Even without allowing for HaRav Eliashiv's position and followers, in this case there is no reason for criticism of the person as opposed to the ideas he holds or supposedly holds. With the awareness of the fact that Maran HaRav Eliashiv is universally recognized as the highest halachic authority in the world, to make such comments about him crosses the border into gross chutzpah that is horrible and inexcusable.

It is easy to understand the intense pain of those who support the settlement movement in Yesha at the awful gezeiroh that has come crashing down upon them. In their wildest nightmares they never imagined such a threat to the Gaza settlements which have been flourishing for more than 30 years. Somehow, it may have been easier to weather if it had come from the political Left, whom they recognize as bitter opponents. The fact that it is coming from the Right — and from Ariel Sharon — makes the pain and humiliation all the greater. The desperation is compounded by the awareness that this may not be the last pullback, despite what all the authorities say. Nobody knows what the Israeli officials think in private, and everybody knows that in any case America's needs and wishes are critical.

As the disengagement looms, they are looking for people to blame. Of course Sharon is an obvious candidate, but he could not do it himself. Who were his partners in the plan to destroy Gush Katif? Who is responsible if the police and the Army destroy shuls and yeshivas, move thousands out, move graves, and possibly destroy all the buildings?

To answer this we quote Uri Elitzur, a leader of the settlement movement and director of the Prime Minister's office under Netanyahu, who points to the guilty:

"What is the height of chutzpah? To criticize the chareidim for supporting the disengagement when your name is Zevulun Orlev. It is the absolute height of chutzpah and cynicism. It was none other than you — Orlev — who made it possible for Sharon to go this far. You refused to leave the government when the Likud Rebels numbered 20 MKs, and at a time when MK Gamliel thought — and rightly so — that it was good for her career to oppose disengagement and to attack Sharon.

"You gave Sharon months of quiet and breathing room, when there were still many in the Labor Party who opposed joining the government, and when Sylvan Shalom and Livnat had not yet sold out. You refused to cause a government crisis at a time when such a crisis had a good chance of initiating a dynamic that could have toppled Sharon. You, and three other Mafdal MKs, volunteered your own bodies to plug the dam. . .

"You who represent religious Zionism, whose movement founded the settlements of Gush Katif, you enabled Sharon to get more and more public support . . . you gave him the time to get more and more international support for this plan — that a year ago was not even acceptable to Washington. You were the scaffolding upon which Sharon built this monstrous building. And now you criticize the chareidim, who were never Zionist, and who never pretended to represent the settlers? What do you want from them?"


By the time the NRP left the government, the Disengagement was already a fact — a plan approved by the Israeli government. By the time Sharon came calling on the chareidim to invite them to join his government, he did not need us to approve his plan. He found an eager ally in Labor, and had an alternative to chareidi votes in Shinui, with whom the NRP had no problem despite their open desire to destroy all religious life in Eretz Yisroel.

Mofaz did not visit HaRav Eliashiv for an endorsement of the government's plans. Chareidi votes were never decisive in any of the stages of passage. The government feels no need for the approval of gedolei Yisroel for what it does and has never solicited it, even at earlier stages.

It is well-known that maranan verabonon ztvk"l and ylct"a have always held the concern for human life as the highest interest. At this stage where Disengagement has passed all political hurdles, the only issues that remain are to minimize all danger of harm to human life.

The dati-leumi approach has always been to criticize those who do not recognize the State of Israel as the atchalta deGeulah, and to honor with singing and dancing the secular leaders who visited their Torah institutions. Now that the latter, whose behavior has always been of the type that the Torah tells us will cause the Land of Israel to cast out its inhabitants, have turned against their most cherished enterprises, they have turned to bizui talmidei chachomim, a sin that of itself is cause for the destruction of the land (see Shabbos 119b).

When his yeshiva (Slobodka) first came to Eretz Yisroel more than eighty years ago, HaRav Moshe Mordechai Epstein, zt'l, wrote: ". . . only through Torah and those great in Torah will Israel and its land be built."

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