RCP Rabbis hand Sharon the Torah Ruling, 2005
RCP Rabbis hand Sharon the Torah Ruling, 2005RCP

The Rabbinical Congress for Peace (RCP) marked the fifth anniversary of Israel's disastrous withdrawal from Gaza by publishing a letter the group received from then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon dated July 18, 2005. The Rabbis had handed Sharon a Torah Ruling against ceding land but Sharon chose to ignore it. 

"I believe that today, the benefit, peace and security of the Nation of Israel require the evacuation of the Gaza Strip, an area in which there is no chance of establishing a Jewish majority and which everyone knows will not be part of the State of Israel in a permanent accord,” Sharon wrote.

“At the same time, we are transferring the brunt of our efforts to the most important areas for safeguarding our future: the Galilee, the Negev, Greater Jerusalem, the settlement blocs and the security zones.

“I initiated the Disengagement because it is the best vehicle for a basic change in the national situation of the Jewish people. The departure from Gaza will have a decisive positive influence on all fields of life in Israel: security, economy and the quality of life in the country.”

Along with the letter from Sharon, the RCP re-published the Torah Ruling signed by almost 400 rabbis forbidding surrender of any land to foreigners. “The Disengagement proved again that the Torah Ruling against relinquishing land to enemies because it will make it easier for them to conquer the land is valid today more than ever,” the rabbinical forum said. 

The Rabbis expressed their “amazement” that Israel has established various inquiry committees on different issues but “has still not found time to set up an inquiry committee to investigate the heinous crime committed by the Israeli government of uprooting thousands of Jews from their homes through a Disengagement which led to hundreds of casualties and to the deterioration of Israel’s security to an all-time low.”

Flotilla is result of retreat

“We hope that the Terkel Committee that is investigating Israel’s actions in trying to impose a Gaza Strip naval blockade will also investigate the genesis of what led to this situation,” said Rabbi Avrohom Shmuel Lewin, RCP Director-General. “The Committee must investigate what caused Israel to lose its deterrence. Turkey or any other country never dared to send provocative ships against Israel in the past.”

Rabbi Joseph Gerlitzky, Rabbi of Central Tel Aviv and Chairman of the RCP, said that for the past twenty years the RCP has corresponded with and met dozens of politicians and prime ministers and presented them with the Torah Ruling against giving up land to foreigners, an act which will only weaken and harm Israel’s security. Unfortunately, he added, the consequences predicted by the Halacha (Jewish Law) materialized against the opinions of all so-called “advisers, strategists and political analysts.”

“It did not take long before everyone saw Sharon’s colossal mistake,” the RCP stated. In his letter, the rabbis added, “He wrote that the Disengagement will bring peace and prosperity to the Negev, to greater Jerusalem, to the settlement blocs , and enhance Israel’s security, and we all saw the thousands of rockets that struck the Negev, we now see the threat facing greater Jerusalem and the continuous settlement freeze and the enormous concessions in Judea and Samaria  which were a direct result of the disengagement from Gaza (and the implementation of the Oslo accords), exactly as the Rabbis warned in their Ruling based on the Jewish Code of Law.” 

'The Torah screams'

“Yet there are still those don’t learn from the past and  believe that if we further concede, further withdraw, and be more flexible to U.S. demands and find favor in the eyes of the world they will fight Iran for us. The government also thinks that by begging the Palestinians to negotiate it will gain world respect and succeed in preserving Israel’s basic security needs. 

“But the Torah does not change, the Rabbis stated, “it still screams and warns that any negotiations based on withdrawing from land under Israeli control will lead to incessant bloodshed and instability in the region.” 

The RCP expressed some satisfaction over a slight resumption of building in the outskirts of Jerusalem but said this is not enough and demanded massive construction in all parts of Israel.

Rabbi Moshe Havlin, Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Gat and vice-chairman of the RCP, called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to follow in the footsteps of Sharon. Rabbi Havlin warned that every day that Israel refrains from construction in Jerusalem or in Judea and Samaria displays another concession to pressure and just leads to additional demands and stronger pressure than before.

“Mr. Netanyahu, the majority of Americans lack faith in President Obama and he cannot force Israel to do anything if you say no. Mr. Obama is trying to make political gains at the expense of Israel’s security and if you stand firm without wavering, the pressure will stop,” Rabbi Havlin said.