The Rabbinical Congress for Peace (RCP) convened an urgent press conference in Tel Aviv today (Monday) to protest and condemn the current negotiations to divide Jerusalem and to hand over parts of the holy city to the Palestinians in preparation of the Annapolis peace conference in the fall.
Representing the RCP which is comprised of over 1,200 prominent rabbis and community leader in Israel and abroad were Rabbi Joseph Gerlitzky, Chairman of the RCP, Rabbi David M. Drukman, Rabbi of Kiryat Motzkin, Rabbi Meir Horowitz, Rabbi of the Bostoner community in Israel and abroad and son of the Bostoner Rebbe, a member of Agudat Israel's Council of Torah Sages, Rabbi Moshe Havlin, Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Gat, Rabbi Avrohom Yaakov Shreiber, Rabbi of Kfar Darom who was expelled from Gush Katif, MK Rabbi Meir Porush and Rabbi Avrohom Shmuel Lewin, General Secretary of the RCP.
Rabbi Drukman opened the conference and outlined the goals of the RCP these days: "We convened here today to vigorously protest the government's drafting of a principles document that will surrender parts of Jerusalem to the Palestinians. It pains us to see that there is no public outcry against this, everyone is complacent.
"If Minister Ivet Lieberman who is considered a "hawk" is a partner in drafting these principles what can we expect from PM Ehud Olmert and his cronies? We must scream and protest not only to go through the motions but maybe our protest will bring another one in its chain and awaken the public," said Rabbi Drukman.
Rabbi Drukman propsoed that from now on when Rabbis officiate under the Chupa (at a wedding) and the groom recites the verse "If I forget thee Jerusalem may my right hand be forgotten" he should emphasize that this refers to ALL of Jerusalem.
The next speaker was Rabbi Horowitz who addressed his words to U.S. Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice: "I am an American Jew who is proud of the American education and civic upbringing that I received in the U.S.A. America represents for me and the majority of the civilized world all that is good about man. America is a nation that has fought for equality among man against apartheid, against ethnic cleansing and for democracy.
"I am dismayed at the very thought that the U.S. might impose upon the inhabitants of Israel, be they Jewish, Christian or Moslem, a political relaity that is based on apartheid, a separation between cantons of Jews and Arabs. That is based upon ethnic cleansing, the forceful removal of Jews from their homes. That is based on imposing dictatorship by permitting terrorists to gain control of their subject peoples with the approval and active participation of the U.S.
"Madam Secretary, we request that you convey to the President and to the leaders of the civilized world that although Jerusaalem is "also" holy to the three great faiths of the world, but for the Jewish People it is our "only" Holy City, therefore no one can expect the Jewish people to forgo the central theme and focus of their religion."
The next speaker was Rabbi Shreiber who spoke of the historical crime committed by the government when it expelled thousands of Jews from their homes and threw them into immigrant camps. "Throughout history Jews have suffered expulsions and persecutions in various countries but it was always perpetrated by non-Jews. This is the first time that Jews themselves expelled their brothers from their homes.
"I dread to think that what happened to several thousand people in Gush Katif the government is now planning to do to hundreds of thousands of Jews in Jerusalem," he said.
MK Meir Porush said "Jerusalem is the soul of the nation and just like man cannot live without a soul so we cannot live without Jerusalem.
"It is so absurd," he said, "when Benjamin Netanyahu was running against Shimon Peres in the national elections and Ehud Olmert was directing his campaign he came up with a slogan "Peres will divide Jerusalem" and that lead to a Netanyahu victory. Years later, when Olmert had a falling out with Netanyahu and he directed the election campaign of Ehud Barak against Netanyahu, Olmert came up with the slogan, "Barak will not divide Jerusalem." And now it is he himself who is dividing Jerusalem.
Rabbi Havlin focused on the pwer of the Torah and that when rabbis declare a Torah Ruling it can change reality. "Therefore we, the rabbis, empowered by the Torah, declare that all plans and negotitations on withdrawal from Jerusalem or from any part of Israel is null and void!
Rabbi Gerlitzky said "it has been several months now that the government has been discussing dividing Jerusalem but it was done quietly behind our back. Now when it came out in the open there is no outcry. I feel as though the public has been sprayed with some kind of "sleeping gas". The same goes for the silence when dozens of rockets are being fired into Israel and are landing in Ashkelon, Netivot and even near Kiryat Gat but the media is silent about it.
"It is our obligation as rabbis to sound the alarm and reiterate again and again the Halachic Ruling in the Jewish Code of Law that it is forbidden to give up even one inch of the land to foreigners because it will lead to blodshed and danger to life," Rabbi Gerlitzky concluded.
The press conference was closed with Rabbi Lewin reading the resolutions:
Summary and Resolutions presented by the Rabbinical Congress for Peace at the Press Conference at Beit Sokolov in Tel Aviv – October 15, 2007
The Rabbinical Congress for Peace (RCP) comprised of 1,200 rabbis and community leaders in Israel and abroad painfully determines that that the leaders of the State of Israel who are planning to divide Jerusalem are unwillingly helping to materialize the dream of our worst enemies. The Mufti of Jerusalem is gleaming with joy as he watches his work being implemented by Jews.
The RCP is calling upon all Jewish leaders the world over to come out against this national crime of dividing Jerusalem as proposed by the current Israeli government.
The crimes and criminal allegations that some of our “leaders” in Israel are currently being accused of pale in the face of the monumental crime of surrendering parts of the heart and soul of our nation.
To these leaders we are making a last minute plea: Come back to your senses and wake up from you self-delusion.
The RCP calls on the government to abandon the “land for peace formula. It never worked in the past, it doesn’t work now and will never work in the future. This formula is obsolete, outdated leads to bloodshed.
The only formula that will work is the one outlined in the Jewish Code of Law Orach Chaim Chapter 329 that rules that giving up parts of Israel to foreigners is a matter of life or death and will only bring bloodshed.
The Torah and its rulings are eternal and therefore, absolutely no one has the right or authority to concede even one inch of our Holy Land. Any agreement to do so is null and void and has no validity whatsoever.