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Rabbi Aviner to Expulsion Soldiers:You Won´t Forgive Yourselves

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, a leading nationalist rabbi known for trying to bridge differences, wrote to soldiers slated to expel Jews from their homes that they will never be able to forgive themselves.

By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 8/14/2005, 1:36 PM / Last Update: 8/14/2005, 1:12 AM

He consistently has told soldiers they should not refuse orders but also should reach the conclusion that they are not able to carry out a command to expel Jews from their homes.

In a prayer he composed for soldiers to read before participating in the scheduled expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif, he wrote, "Almighty G-d, save me from my brother who ordered me to strike my brother with his children…. Woe to me if I meet a good friend; woe to me [if I am] opposite a screaming young child, a young girl crying bitterly, tearful eyes of a mother [and] a penetrating look of a father.

"How strong is the pain! It is awful. If I expel a brother, he will be injured but in time the wound will heal. But I never will be rehabilitated, my soul will be paralyzed forever, and I will feel endless guilt, [with] pictures of tormented faces [and] screaming children [which] will be with me when I sleep and which will wake me up.

"Almighty G-d, in my great stress, I feel like a criminal, blood is dripping from me. I am exploding from great injustice. How can I break down the door? If I expel a Jew, I never will forgive myself, it will be a hole a in my heart and I will lose my soul."

Amid increasing numbers of soldiers who have chosen to be punished rather than carry out expulsion orders, there are mounting reports of soldiers who will report ill or simply will report for duty without any motivation.