Public Fast Day Declared to Spiritually Combat Expulsion Plan

Two of Israel’s leading rabbis, former Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Avraham Shapira and former Chief Sephardi Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, have declared a public fast to be held on March 17.

, | updated: 8:18 PM

The fast will take place from sunrise to sundown on the 6th day of the Jewish month of Adar II. The day is to be devoted to fasting and prayer in order to overturn the government’s decision to expel Jews from their homes in Gaza and northern Samaria and turn the communities over to Israel’s enemies.

During the fast, an assembly will be held in the Gaza town of N’vei Dekalim in Gush Katif, which will be attended by the two former Chief Rabbis.

Yesha council spokesperson Emily Amrusy said the day was chosen because it marks the eve of the death of Moses, who led the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, commanding them to settle the land. "For the first time in the country's history, great rabbis of religious Zionism have called for a day of fasting and prayers, by the authority of Jewish law," Amrusy said.

March 17 is also the date when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon plans to bring the government’s budget to be voted on by the Knesset. Many see this as the last chance to thwart the plan using legislative tools.