Sunday, August 07, 2005

Not All Kippot Are Orange

Rabbi Michael Melchior of the Meimad party offers an interesting analysis of the change in Israel’s political landscape over the past years.

While the intifada has led many Israelis to turn toward the right, the right has by far and large (Roni Milo, Dan Meridor, Tzipi Livni, Ehud Olmert and now ever Ariel Sharon) accepted the view of the center-left in understanding that only a political settlement and division of territoriy can give Israel the hope and perspective of peace and becoming a thriving Jewish state, which will have a serious Arab minority. Which of course has to be given equal rights and equal opportunities inside the realm of the Jewish state.

On the matter of whether returning land is halachically permissible, he answers:
I seriously believe that the State of Israel needs borders, The Jewish state has not had borders for more than 2000 years. Borders are an essence of Zionism and even though we might be connected to part of Gaza or southern Lebanon and for sure connected to Judea and Samaria, when we weigh the pros and cons my pro comes up as a wish to disengage, create a border which will give Israel a possibility to be both a Jewish and a democratic state.

For those who have asked how this fits into the halakhic terminology, first I would like to quote Rabbi Solovecic (of Blessed Memory) who already in the months after the Six-Day War very clearly stated that anybody who goes to rabbis to ask on the question of giving up land, is doing what he called "a ridiculous thing." This question has to be decided according to the overall concerns - saving life, the economy, society, the well-being and security of the Jewish state, and I have no doubt that 7,000 settlers in Gaza amongst a population of nearly 1.5 million Palestinians that has no future, no perspective, no hope in it. And therefore painfully - painfully because of our care for the people who live there - we have to return them home into the State of Israel.

I believe that the pain is going to be great because to uproot people from their homes, their schools, synagogues, is in many ways a cruel inhuman act but it is necessary for Israel's future and if we just continue now developing the settlements, we would have to do so the same in the future, just with many more people.

A little pain now, for a lot less pain in the future.

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