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Torah Sages Council and the Disengagement

A Council of Torah Sages member says he opposes a national referendum regarding the disengagement plan. Meanwhile, the Council's decision to join the coalition is being challenged from within.
First Publish: 1/23/2005, 8:20 PM / Last Update: 1/23/2005, 12:42 PM

The Rebbe of Erloi, from the Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem, met last week with Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, who asked him to publicly support a bill calling for a referendum. "If the final result is that Jewish communities must be evacuated, then I won't agree under any circumstances. I do not agree to give even one grain of sand of the Land of Israel to the Arabs."

The Mishpachah [Family] weekly magazine reported that Minister Shalom said that only a referendum could prevent bloodshed, as it would signify a consensus. The Erloi Rabbi said in response, "We must be loyal to our principles," and must remind the world of our G-d-given bonds with the Land.

The decision made earlier this month by the Council of Torah Sages to allow the United Torah Judaism party to enter the coalition has not gone unchallenged. Arutz-7's Ruti Avraham reports that Yosef Loifer, acting on behalf of the Sadigura Rebbe, a member of the Council, has filed a complaint with the Rabbinical Court of the Eidah HaHareidit. The complaint was filed with the knowledge and agreement of Rabbi Elyashiv.

The complaint states that the Council never convened a quorum of members to discuss the issue, and that the five members who opposed the decision – the Rabbis of Sadigura, Erloi, Alexander, and Boston, as well as Rabbi Zilber – comprise a majority of Agudat Yisrael members of the Council. The claim also states that "it is not certain that the three who issued verbal opinions in favor of the decision are actually so unambiguously in favor." One of them is not well, while the Gerrer Rebbe just two months ago was clearly against the disengagement and supposedly changed his opinion based on political calculations that turned out to be incorrect.

A hearing on the complaint was held on Jan. 14, and another one is to be held in the near future.

Meanwhile, the Chief Rabbi of Rehovot, Rabbi Simcha HaCohen Kook, clarified that he never said anything against the head of the Council of Torah Sages, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv. It had been reported, after Rabbi Elyashiv's decision to allow UTJ to join the coalition, that Rabbi Kook had said that Rabbi Elyashiv had been misled.