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      PM and Chabad Rabbis in a "Very Charged Meeting"

      A delegation of Chabad rabbis met with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in his Jerusalem office yesterday - the first meeting of its kind since he announced his expulsion/withdrawal plan.
      First Publish: 6/29/2005, 12:44 PM / Last Update: 6/29/2005, 1:10 PM

      The meeting began in a friendly atmosphere, but tensions gradually rose, and at certain points it was "almost on the verge of an explosion." So said today one of the participants, Chabad Spokesman Rabbi Menachem Brod, to Arutz-7's Yosef Meiri.

      Participating in the meeting were Rabbi Yehuda Leib Groner, who was the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s secretary, Chabad Israel Rabbinical Court Director Rabbi Yitzchak Yehuda Yaruslavski, his deputy Rabbi Menachem Glocobosky, Binyamin Regional Council Rabbi Shimon Elituv, and other senior rabbis.

      The 90-minute meeting began with the recounting of stories about Prime Minister Sharon’s meetings with the Lubavitcher Rebbe and the warm ties between them. Left unmentioned was the fact that the Rebbe once advised Sharon not to enter politics altogether.

      The Chabad representatives told the Prime Minister how strongly the Lubavitcher Rebbe always opposed any concession over any part of the Land of Israel. “While we do not have your experience and knowledge," Rabbi Brod told him, "we do have the Rebbe and we are certain that he is right."

      Prime Minister Sharon explained what he felt were the advantages of his plan, the circumstances that led him to initiate it, and the importance he ascribes to the settlement movement. He spoke against violence - with the full agreement of his guests - and against refusal to fulfill disengagement-related orders. Some leading Chabad rabbis have called for such refusal.

      "True, it is difficult and painful," Sharon said, "but the State of Israel has decided - we are leaving Gaza. Even if it is difficult, the Plan will be implemented. The Plan will be implemented because it is the right thing for the State of Israel.”

      Rabbi Brod told Arutz-7 that the rabbis decided to meet with Sharon after he said that if he could speak with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, he would persuade him of the correctness of his plan. "We showed him that the Rebbe's opinion, which is the opposite of Sharon's, corresponds perfectly to the situation and dangers as we see it now," Rabbi Brod said. Sharon asked to see the Rebbe's words in writing, and the rabbis said they would send him the relevant passages.

      Sharon himself admitted that the Rebbe had been more precise and accurate in his analysis of the shortcomings of the infamous Bar-Lev Line [a chain of fortifications built by Israel along the Suez Canal after the Six Day War, which was easily overrun by attacking Egyptian forces on the first day of the Yom Kippur War - ed.] than IDF experts.

      Rabbi Groner told Sharon, "You feel that the plan will be beneficial to Israel, but you yourself cannot be certain that things will develop the way you want them to. We tell you with absolute certainty, in light of the Rebbe's clear words, that this plan will cause the exact opposite."

      "It will lead to a most grave security deterioration, will bring terror to inestimably high levels, and will increase international pressure on Israel," Rabbi Groner continued. "If you think that giving up Gush Katif and northern Shomron will save the settlement blocs, the exact opposite will occur; it will serve as a precedent and proof that it is possible to dismantle even the large settlement blocs."

      Asked if there were any arguments that seemed to make Sharon more uncomfortable than others, Rabbi Brod said, "When we talked about the danger to Jews that the plan was likely to bring, we could see that this was not pleasant for him to hear."

      The Prime Minister said, "The country cannot accept violence against policemen and soldiers, and Chabad people who do this cause damage to Chabad." The rabbis responded that the disengagement plan causes such great pain and unrest in the public that they can barely exert their authority over them in these areas.