Rabi Yaakov Ariel
Rabi Yaakov Ariel Ofer Amram

I don't usually deal in politics, but I cannot remain silent in the face of injustice done in the name of justice.

Torah morality requires expressing reservations about incorrect quotations and interpretations stated in the name of the Torah. For this reason, some positions and statements by right-wing extremists should be dismissed. Even if they themselves aren't preaching violence, young disciples who aren't fully developed may take away the impression that hatred and aggression against foreigners are both permitted and desirable. This is not the way of Torah. But for that very reason we must dismiss moralistic declarations that create much more serious moral injustice.

The playing-field of Knesset political power is no synagogue where Torah is expounded from an ideal perspective.

Let us be circumspect: We're in an emergency. In these elections the blocs may be balanced, and a single vote could tip the scales for good or for bad (Oslo was decided in the Knesset by a single vote, with the votes of the Arab parties and two deserters, who were probably then also called "men of justice and morality").

Throwing tens of thousands of votes equivalent to two Knesset seats, if not more, in the trash could tilt the balance to the other side. On the other side of the equation are the Arab parties, by whom terrorism is supported not only in speech but also by deed (and yet they are considered socially acceptable by those "justice-seekers"). It comes out that those who reject Jewish extremists in the name of morality and justice actually support Arab terrorism and are doing something immoral!

We don't nitpick in a time of danger. This is what the verse means: "Do not be overly-righteous."

In these elections not only serious security questions are raised, but also existential national questions regarding the Jewish identity of the State. For example, business on Saturdays. Shabbat is not only a supreme religious value, but also a social and moral value. Business on the Sabbath creates coercion for workers and business owners, who are desperate for rest on Shabbat, and unfair competition. The Arabs should not be relied upon to defend the Jewish character of the State and the honor of the Sabbath more than extremist Jews. On this subject too, any concession of a vote that would support the Jewish identity of the State creates moral injustice.

In this emergency, there's also no place to quibble about representation. The religious Zionist spectrum is large and broad and contains many tints and shades. Since many members of religious Zionism prefer to be involved in other bodies, religious Zionist representation is necessarily reduced. And when it becomes crowded, deprivation is necessarily created.

The Torah of Israel, the Land of Israel, and the People of Israel stand above all calculations ​​and ethical platitudes. Partial justice that ignores the whole is unjust.

"Justice, justice shall you pursue, so that you may live and inherit the Land."

The full article will appear in the Hebrew Olam Katan magazine, to be distributed at the end of the week in synagogues.

Rabbi Yaakov Ariel is Chief Rabbi of Ramat Gan

Join our official WhatsApp group