Former IDF Chief Rabbi: Interviews Are Not a 'Shabbat Emergency'
Former IDF Chief Rabbi Rabbi Avihai Ronsky sharply criticized the IDF Spokesperson's Office Sunday over a video filmed on Shabbat with the IDF officers who captured terrorist Nadal Amar on Saturday. Rabbi Ronsky told Arutz Sheva in an interview that the Spokesperson's Office had not only violated the Shabbat, but also IDF rules, which forbid engaging in unnecessary labor on the Sabbath. According to Rabbi Ronsky, there was no reason the interview could not have been delayed until Saturday night.
Apparently, he said, the filming had been done in order to provide content for the Saturday evening news broadcasts. In the film, the commander of the IDF's Efraim Brigade describes the capture of Amar in an operation Saturday morning. Nadal is the terrorist who kidnapped and murdered Hazan Friday, in a plot to trade Hazan's body for the freedom of his brother, a Fatah terrorist who has been in jail in Israel for the last ten years.
The soldier went missing Friday, and after a Shabak investigation, soldiers descended on the home of Nadal in the village of Bayt Amin, near Kalkilya. In the interview, the commander discusses details of the operation.
Rabbi Ronsky said that he had been through this before during his tenure as Chief IDF Rabbi. He had attempted to get the cooperation of the Spokesperson's Office on the matter, but to no avail.
“They would not work with me,” he said. “They would avoid discussing the issue and we failed to arrive at an understanding.”
Rabbi Ronsky said that there were certainly occasions when it was permissible for even the IDF Spokesperson to violate the Sabbath, such as preventing international pressure on Israel or filming in real time a security event – but preparing a film for the 8 PM news was not one of them.
In a statement, the Spokesperson's Office said that “in 2013 we should certainly not have to explain that an event that received a great deal of media attention from the beginning is a security issue by any definition of the term. The IDF Spokesperson operates on Shabbat as the result of an order by the IDF command,” the statement added.