Heads of the Rabbinical Congress for Peace have begun rapidly collecting signatures of rabbis of cities and neighborhoods throughout Israel on a ruling forbidding any construction freeze in Judea and Samaria and calling such a freeze “bloodshed”.
RCP heads Rabbi Joseph Gerlitzky, Rabbi of Central Tel Aviv and Rabbi Moshe Havlin, Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Gat, explained that the ruling is not a new one but rather one that can be found in the Shulchan Aruch, the written Halacha manual written by Rabbi Joseph Caro during the 16th century.
“The Halacha determines that any waiver or consent to appeal Israel’s ownership of a community is considered Pikuach Nefesh and in order to avoid it is even permitted to desecrate Shabbat,” explained the rabbis, and added that “the Halacha predicted precisely everything that has happened in front of our very eyes during the last few years, when it determined that any negotiation or waiver on regarding Israel’s stand on its ownership of its land, will immediately cause an increase in the enemy’s demands, encourage the murder of Jews, and increase world pressure on Israel.”
RCP Secretary General Rabbi Avraham Levin said: “I hold in my hands a copy of a letter sent by the RCP to the Prime Minister a year and a half ago, in which we warned him that the construction freeze is a disaster and that no international factor would agree to resume construction after 12 months, but that the opposite would occur and the pressure would only increase. We are not proud of the fact that our prediction was right. Any reasonable person could have foreseen the outcome, just as no one is deluding himself that at the end of the three-month additional freeze, the world's opposition to Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, and even in Jerusalem, will be removed.”
The rabbis plan to hand the signed ruling to the Prime Minister and to each of the Knesset’s ministers, as well as to publish it in all the large newspapers.
Meanwhile, as the vote on the freeze nears, it was reported on Thursday that tensions are very high in the Land of Israel camp, as nationalists said they are not being allowed to meet with Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, who will determine whether and how the Shas party ministers will vote.
It appears as though the hinges on the votes of Shas party ministers Eli Yishai and Ariel Attias. They appear likely to abstain which would give Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu a majority for his freeze proposal.
The grassroots Mattot Arim organization, meanwhile, called on the public to call, fax or email not only the Shas ministers, but also Ministers Gideon Saar and Yuval Steinitz, who are believed to be seriously considering voting in favor of the freeze.