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Op-Ed: Open Letter to Minister Eli Yishai of the Shas Party

What will become of the Shas legacy?
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 1:12 AM


Minister Yishai,

How can I convey to you the heavy burden that I feel as our beloved and eternal Jerusalem is slipping inexorably from the grasp of this Jewish generation? It is not by force of enemy arms that this is happening, but by a deep pathology that has gripped the people of Israel so that for a delusional peace even the holy city, whose very name
"Next Year in West Jerusalem"?
is synonymous with Zion, may in part become a capital city of the new Edom.

Is it possible that members of the Shas party will lend their hands to the division and irreparable loss of united Jerusalem? Is it possible that the party that justifiably fights for Jewish learning will be the party that remains in the most lamentable government Israel has ever endured and, by doing so, ensure the re-division of Yerushalayim? Is that to be your enduring and shameful legacy?

And will Shas be the party that will be remembered down the generations to come as the party that made a mockery of the eternal prayer recited at the Pesach Seder, "Next Year in Jerusalem," so that it will become a bitter echo: "Next Year in West Jerusalem"?

I am reminded of the words of the great Rabbi J. H. Hertz, who spoke at the Thanksgiving service for the Liberation of Jerusalem by British forces in 1917. In part, he said: ''Jerusalem is the hearth of pure religion, the home of prophecy, the sacred fountain of the word of G-d. With its 4,000 years of history, it is inextricably linked with the Jew, and is as unique among cities as is Israel among the nations."

Remember, Jerusalem has never been a capital city of any people other than the Jews. Certainly, the Crusaders held it as a kingdom, but they were a group of motley European knights with no roots in the land.

We must also remember that the Arabs never made it a capital of any Arab kingdom, nor was there ever an independent Arab state called "Palestine." Please, please do not put your hand to the creation in our time of such an abomination with its capital within Yerushalayim.

Countless Jews within Israel and the Diaspora are looking to Shas to finally force the Olmert government to the realization that it cannot participate in the demise of the Jewish state by endlessly submitting to the Arab enemy; an implacable enemy who falsely lays claim to Israel's G-d-given land.

It is time for the Shas party, under your leadership, to grasp history and finally doom this most unholy of governments and its prime minister. It is time for Shas not only to withdraw immediately from the coalition, but to equally demand that Israel's negotiating team insist that all Arabs, not merely those who call themselves
It is time for the Shas party, under your leadership, to grasp history and finally doom this most unholy of governments.
Palestinians, recognize Israel unambiguously as a Jewish state.

Enough of always responding and reacting to Arab demands. Shas should break once and for all from its politics of expediency and embrace Torah-given morality. It can do so by acting as a true exemplar of Zionism and Torah, which, hand-in-hand, must uphold the integrity and sanctity of the Land of Israel.

Please, by your brave and principled stand, be the man who leads Shas to a glorious chapter in Jewish history by resigning now from this most grievous Israeli government. Leave now and allow Jerusalem to remain the Jewish and eternal city in all its parts, and give renewed hope to the Jewish communities throughout Judea, Samaria and the Golan.

I pray to G-d that He will hasten the time when the mighty shall be just and the just, mighty.

Shalom and yasher koach.

An earlier version of the above open letter appeared on the Israel Hasbara Committee website.