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Samaria Chief Rabbi: “40 Years of Failure, New Approach Needed"

Rabbi Levanon's installation postponed because of terrorism; he says negotiations have failed, we must seek new, independent, nationalist approach.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 3/14/2011, 11:10 AM / Last Update: 3/14/2011, 11:03 AM

Israel news photo

Today was supposed to be the installation ceremony of the Samaria Regional Council’s first Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Elyakim Levanon of Elon Moreh, but the event has been postponed because of the slaughter of the Fogel family in Itamar.

Despite this, Arutz-7’s Shimon Cohen talked this morning with Rabbi Levanon, who said that the terrorist massacre in Itamar must be viewed from two angles: “We must not forget about the individuals – the Fogel and Ben-Yishai families, and the three orphans, including of course the 12-year-old girl who discovered the catastrophe, and we must embrace them with warmth and love and help… And at the same time, this must be a watershed event on a national level. We must realize that we’ve been knocking our heads against the wall for decades; our national policy has registered failure after failure…"

"I agree with something that Netanyahu said yesterday," the rabbi said, "that the terrorist attacks will not determine our future. It’s not because of a particular terrorist attack that we will build a few more houses in [Gush Etzion] or in Maaleh Adumim [as was announced on Sunday]. Rather, we have to convene at our own initiative and decide where and how we want to build; this is our land and our country.”

No Such Thing as Illegal Outposts
“We have to stop once and for all with this nonsense about ‘illegal outposts,’” Rabbi Levanon continued. “They are illegal only because Defense Minister Barak hasn’t signed the necessary papers; once he signs, it becomes legal – and if he doesn’t sign, then another Defense Minister will come along to sign them.  We must begin a new path, a path of independent thinking.”

Leave Itamar?!
Rabbi Levanon expressed great impatience with voices from abroad that say, “What are they doing in Itamar in the first place? If they weren't there, they wouldn’t get killed.” The rabbi said, “Perhaps we should say the same about Israel altogether: If we weren't here in this country, there wouldn’t be any wars!  Let’s go back to the Diaspora – as if no Jews were ever murdered in our years in the Exile! To say now that it’s our fault for being here is not only small-minded and short-sighted, but also evil… This is our home and our inheritance, and we must continue building, and Itamar must become a city and a new center in the Shomron.”

“Is the country ready for such an approach?” Cohen asked. “After all, many in Israel also feel that we should not remain in Yesha…” 

Rabbi Levanon answered, “Yes, a new national shift in thinking is needed. The politicians apparently don’t have advisors who can formulate a new approach; I’m not saying we should replace the politicians, because we can’t know who will come after them. But let them find new advisors who can propose a new alternative to replace the present approach, which is not working. They must also propose how to explain and present it to the nation.”