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      Rabbis Against Reserve Duty for the Near Future

      A group of 50 rabbis have issued a call not to enlist in the reserves in the coming months, in order not to free up other soldiers to take part in the expulsion from Gush Katif/northern Shomron.
      First Publish: 6/12/2005, 11:11 AM / Last Update: 6/12/2005, 11:37 AM

      Among the signatory rabbis are Rabbi Dov Lior of Kiryat Arba, Chairman of the Yesha [Judea and Samaria] Rabbis Council, Rabbi Zalman Melamed of Beit El (pictured), Rabbi Moshe Levinger of Hevron, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, head of the Temple Institute, Rabbi Elyakim Levanon (Elon Moreh), Rabbi Shmuel Tal (N'vei Dekalim), Rabbi Eliezer Melamed (Har Brachah), Rabbi David Dudkevitch (Yitzhar) and many others.

      The rabbis' proclamation reads:

      "This is not the time to be silent. The IDF is the Israel Defense Forces, an army of G-d. Serving in the defense of the State of Israel is a privilege and a mitzvah (Torah commandment). However, the criminal mission of expelling Jews from their homes with which the government of Israel has charged the IDF brings about a situation in which any army service that aids and abets this crime, is a very grave transgression...

      "Signing up for reserve duty in order to enable other forces to be used for the expulsion is forbidden. Even reserve duty that does not directly aid the expulsion, manifests indirect support for the terrible decree, and therefore those who refrain from serving in this way will be blessed with goodness."

      Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, Israel's Chief Sephardic Rabbi from 1983-1993, made headlines last week when he stated that soldiers should not refuse expulsion orders, and then clarified that he did not mean that soldiers must fulfill the orders. His top aide explained that the rabbi is against an organized rebellion in the army, but supports those who tell their commanders on an individual basis that they are simply unable to fulfill such orders.