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Rabbis Asked to Intervene in IDF’s No-Fire Orders

As IDF publishes restrictive no-fire orders, frustrated leaders ask Chief Rabbis to intervene.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 9/23/2011, 2:50 PM

Frustrated by the restrictive no-fire orders handed down by IDF attorneys, local rabbis and leaders are asking the Chief Rabbis of Israel to take the rare step of issuing a direct contradiction. While the Rabbinate avoids involvement in military affairs, the rabbis said that in this case, the orders are a case of “pikuach nefesh,” life and death.

A letter from Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel,  and Professor Hillel Weiss reads:

To the Honorable Chief Rabbis of Israel,
Rabbi Shlomo Amar,
And Rabbi Yona Metzger

As the new year begins, we wish you a good and sweet year, a year in which you will raise the flag of justice in Israel and make G-d’s Torah beloved in the eyes of His people.

We have the honor of turning to you regarding a matter that affects many Israeli lives. It is in your hands to save many souls.

As you know, saving lives is more important than the entire Torah, as we were commanded, “Do not stand idly by your brother’s blood.” And our sages ruled, “One who comes to kill you – rise early to kill him.”

The residents of Jewish towns in Judea, Samaria and Binyamin, who are defending themselves, their homes, their wives and young children, must be ordered not to hesitate to fire on any enemy from a foreign nation who conspires to do harm, who infiltrates a town without permission. Experience teaches that such a person’s goal is to harm the town's residents.

We make this request in light of the inhumane “orders for opening fire” that were given to Jewish towns by the IDF lawyers, in which they were ordered not to do anything unless an Arab endangers a Jew’s life in a “concrete and immediate” manner. These orders are likely to cause disaster. In practice, they encourage Arabs to not only destroy Jewish property, but to cause them physical harm.

The residents of Judea, Samaria and Binyamin, who look to the Torah for guidance, are waiting to hear Torah from the rabbis of Israel, particularly regarding a question of life and death.

With blessings that you be inscribed and sealed for good,

Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe, Professor Hillel Weiss.