Israel’s most revered Zionist rabbis and heads of prestigious yeshivas held an emergency conference on Tuesday regarding the proposal by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to renew the construction freeze in Judea and Samaria.
During the conference, which was held in Jerusalem to a full audience, the rabbis exhorted Netanyahu to stand strong and resist U.S. pressure to renew the freeze while at the same time stressed that Netanyahu must keep his promises to the people who elected him. All the rabbis reminded the Prime Minister that the other side clearly does not want peace and that all the concessions Israel makes will be for naught, lower Israel's status and cause unnecessary suffering and danger.
Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, Rosh Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav, said that Yaakov Avinu met Esau prepared to stand strong, and recalled a student of his who later fell in Lebanon, who said that holding on to Eretz Yisrael does not need to be explained as it is the same as eating and breathing.
Rabbi Chaim Druckman, Head of the Association of Hesder Yeshivas, said that two lands for two peoples is a nice expression, but has no validity in Eretz Yisrael. He explained that Eretz Yisrael is one land for the Jewish people and anyone who comes to live in Eretz Yisrael is living in that land. Rabbi Druckman added that he was sorry that a conference such as this was not held earlier with rabbis from all over the world in attendance.
Rabbi Druckman ended by saying the words uttered to Haman, who plotted to kill all the Jews in the story of Purim: “Take counsel together and it shall be brought to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand; for G-d is with us.” The words were spoken in reference to U.S. President Barack Obama.
Rabbi Shabtai Sabato, one of the Rosh Yeshivas of Maaleh Adumim Hesder Yeshiva, said that Israeli media cries about the children of foreign workers who will be deported, about the infiltrators from Sudan, and about every terrorist's house that is razed, yet fails to cry out about the civil rights of loyal citizens of Judea and Samaria who can't even build a porch or a room. He noted that when bargaining, the side that doesn't give in is the one that succeeds.
Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, the Rabbi of the community of Elon Moreh, said that it should be clarified to Netanyahu and the government ministers that if they do not remain true to their word, their party will be crushed in the next elections. He referred to MK Tzachi Hanegbi, who was impeached because of unethical behavior, and added that at the same time “a prime minister who lied to an entire nation continues as if nothing happened. How is that possible?”
Also speaking at the conference in English was Rabbi Shalom Gold, former Rabbi of the Zionist synagogue of the Har Nof neighborhood whose Torah lectures attract overflow crowds of hundreds. Watch and listen to his words below:
Following the conference, the rabbis went to the home of Justice Minister Ya'akov Ne'eman in hopes of persuading him to vote against the extension of the freeze. Ne'eman was apparently not home at the time.