At a meeting with families who were expelled from their homes in the 2005 Disengagement plan, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau – currently Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, and at the time Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel – revealed Tuesday that he had met with then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon a month before the plan came into effect.
Rabbi Lau suggested that Knesset members be brought to Gush Katif to see the communities there before voting to expel them from their homes – a suggestion that Sharon said that there was no time for, because “a civil war might ensue.”
Rabbi Lau spoke to a large group of women who had come to hear him speak as part of the ten-year commemoration of the destruction of their communities. During his lecture, Rabbi Lau shared his exchange with Sharon, telling the former Prime Minister than barely 20 MKs had ever visited Gush Katif – and that it would be proper for all of them to do so before voting to approve Sharon's Disengagement plan, which would entail the removal of the communities and its 10,000 residents.
Agreeing in principle, Sharon said said that he did not have that luxury. “You are right, but you must understand,” Sharon told the rabbi. “I am afraid we are going to have a civil war. Already there are hundreds of protestors in Gush Katif, and soon there will be thousands. If we wait and try to remove them we will really have a civil war here, and we will be unable to carry out the plan.”
Rabbi Lau also spoke about the last Shabbat before the destruction of the communities. He stayed at a home in Neve Dekalim, he said, imbibing from the special atmosphere that prevailed that Shabbat, he added.