Refusal Rebuttal

Pamphlet advocating soldiers’ refusal to participate in the disengagement.
Courtesy of Moishe & Shaya Rubinstein.
On Am Haaretz, Ami Hertz offers a halakhic argument against refusal:

Part of the opposition to the removal of the Yesha towns is on religious grounds. Some religious leaders tell us that such action is forbidden by the Torah. For example, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, former Chief Sephardic Rabbi, has said that (1) the evacuation is forbidden by the Torah; (2) it is absolutely forbidden to actively help in the evacuation; and (3) soldiers and policemen should disobey evacuation-related orders. There are other examples of such religious rulings.
In this article, I would like to specifically address this religious objection. I am all for a Jewish Israel. Because of this, I do sympathize with the residents of Yesha. And also because of this, I do believe that Torah should be followed, regardless of our emotions, and especially in difficult times such as this.

Read on…
Related Post: People Before Land: The Halakhic Case For Disengagement

5 thoughts on “Refusal Rebuttal

  1. The discussion is totally valid, but the Am Haaretz article seems to ignore a major fact – that this plan was generated in a corrupt manner and that the ‘magistrate’ Sharon highjacked his right-wing party which objected to land concessions when it got it’s landslide mandate from the citizens. Does Ami Hertz really think that we should follow every order the ‘magistrate’ gives us? Then democracy is a farce, and he supports dictatorships.
    He also ignores the fact that the judicial system is taking a hands off approach and suppressing basic rights in order to support Sharon’s plan.

  2. “and that the ‘magistrate’ Sharon highjacked his right-wing party which objected to land concessions when it got it’s landslide mandate from the citizens.”
    I can’t agree. Israel is a republic, not a direct democracy, and under a republic a leader can lead as he sees fit (within the constraints of the system and the laws, of course) and, if he wishes, in defiance of his party or his voters. “Mandate” is just a concept describing what voters want or what an elected official is likely to do if he wishes to be reelected, not some binding rule. Anyone accepting the Israeli government (including religious Zionists) has accepted from the beginning the possibility that an elected leader might defy the voters that elected him. Any system needs this kind of flexibility – imagine if FDR kept his 1940 campaign promise not to fight in Europe (I know it’s not a perfect analogy, as the 1940 voters had also changed their mind after Pearl Harbor; I’m just illustrating why leaders need to be allowed to use their discretion).
    I strongly disagree with disengagement and sympathize with those being forced out. But it’s in times of stress like this that we need to show that all parties respect the rule of law, however misguided in some instances. (There are hypotheticals in which I would advocate defying the government, but this situation does not involve the government overstepping its bounds, and the magnitude of the importance of the decision doesn’t nearly justify the negative effects of defiance.) This should be the position of both religious and secular.
    Now, the judicial system, on the other hand…

  3. Message to Am haaretz Hertz: the Torah is not the law of the land. Nor is Gaza eretz-yisrael. It’s time to leave.

  4. Thanks to Mobius for linking and thanks to all who commented.
    The purpose of the article was to consider the situation from an apolitical Torah point of view. Whether anyone wants to follow the Torah is up to them; but I think before each person makes his decision, he should know what the Torah says.
    Josh, I am sorry, but Torah makes no requirement that the shofet be democratically elected. However, governments only have power with the consent of their followers. The very fact that a government has the power over the whole country means that, on balance, the residents of the country have agreed not to oppose that power. So governments *do* represent the people. One important question is, what if the government makes the “wrong” decision — should those who know the “right” decision oppose it? The Torah seems to say “no”. If I am mistaken in this conclusion, I would like to hear your reasons.
    “Does Ami Hertz really think that we should follow every order the ‘magistrate’ gives us?” Isn’t that what the Torah says in Deut 17:8-13?
    Bead, I do sense a bit of an anti-religious sentiment? Many people try to use religion to justify their actions. So such sentiment is understandable, but it is still wrong. It is not the fault of religion that it is abused. Again, whether or not you follow any religion is up to you, but I think that it is good to know the thing before you refuse to follow it.

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