Last Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz visited
Maran HaRav Eliashiv, at the Defense Minister's request, at
his home. In the course of the conversation, the Defense
Minister asked HaRav Eliashiv several questions about
evacuating the batei knesset and the private homes in
Gush Katif. He also asked several questions about risks to
soldiers involved in the evacuation process. Maran
shlita responded to the questions as asked.
On Sunday Hatsofe, the newspaper that identifies
itself as dati-leumi-Tzioni, published a "reaction" to
that meeting that went beyond all acceptable boundaries. Even
without allowing for HaRav Eliashiv's position and followers,
in this case there is no reason for criticism of the person
as opposed to the ideas he holds or supposedly holds. With
the awareness of the fact that Maran HaRav Eliashiv is
universally recognized as the highest halachic authority in
the world, to make such comments about him crosses the border
into gross chutzpah that is horrible and inexcusable.
It is easy to understand the intense pain of those who
support the settlement movement in Yesha at the awful
gezeiroh that has come crashing down upon them. In
their wildest nightmares they never imagined such a threat to
the Gaza settlements which have been flourishing for more
than 30 years. Somehow, it may have been easier to weather if
it had come from the political Left, whom they recognize as
bitter opponents. The fact that it is coming from the Right
— and from Ariel Sharon — makes the pain and
humiliation all the greater. The desperation is compounded by
the awareness that this may not be the last pullback, despite
what all the authorities say. Nobody knows what the Israeli
officials think in private, and everybody knows that in any
case America's needs and wishes are critical.
As the disengagement looms, they are looking for people to
blame. Of course Sharon is an obvious candidate, but he could
not do it himself. Who were his partners in the plan to
destroy Gush Katif? Who is responsible if the police and the
Army destroy shuls and yeshivas, move thousands out, move
graves, and possibly destroy all the buildings?
To answer this we quote Uri Elitzur, a leader of the
settlement movement and director of the Prime Minister's
office under Netanyahu, who points to the guilty:
"What is the height of chutzpah? To criticize the chareidim
for supporting the disengagement when your name is Zevulun
Orlev. It is the absolute height of chutzpah and cynicism. It
was none other than you — Orlev — who made it
possible for Sharon to go this far. You refused to leave the
government when the Likud Rebels numbered 20 MKs, and at a
time when MK Gamliel thought — and rightly so —
that it was good for her career to oppose disengagement and
to attack Sharon.
"You gave Sharon months of quiet and breathing room, when
there were still many in the Labor Party who opposed joining
the government, and when Sylvan Shalom and Livnat had not yet
sold out. You refused to cause a government crisis at a time
when such a crisis had a good chance of initiating a dynamic
that could have toppled Sharon. You, and three other Mafdal
MKs, volunteered your own bodies to plug the dam. . .
"You who represent religious Zionism, whose movement founded
the settlements of Gush Katif, you enabled Sharon to get more
and more public support . . . you gave him the time to get
more and more international support for this plan —
that a year ago was not even acceptable to Washington. You
were the scaffolding upon which Sharon built this monstrous
building. And now you criticize the chareidim, who were never
Zionist, and who never pretended to represent the settlers?
What do you want from them?"
By the time the NRP left the government, the Disengagement
was already a fact — a plan approved by the Israeli
government. By the time Sharon came calling on the chareidim
to invite them to join his government, he did not need us to
approve his plan. He found an eager ally in Labor, and had an
alternative to chareidi votes in Shinui, with whom the NRP
had no problem despite their open desire to destroy all
religious life in Eretz Yisroel.
Mofaz did not visit HaRav Eliashiv for an endorsement of the
government's plans. Chareidi votes were never decisive in any
of the stages of passage. The government feels no need for
the approval of gedolei Yisroel for what it does and
has never solicited it, even at earlier stages.
It is well-known that maranan verabonon ztvk"l and
ylct"a have always held the concern for human life as
the highest interest. At this stage where Disengagement has
passed all political hurdles, the only issues that remain are
to minimize all danger of harm to human life.
The dati-leumi approach has always been to criticize those
who do not recognize the State of Israel as the atchalta
deGeulah, and to honor with singing and dancing the
secular leaders who visited their Torah institutions. Now
that the latter, whose behavior has always been of the type
that the Torah tells us will cause the Land of Israel to cast
out its inhabitants, have turned against their most cherished
enterprises, they have turned to bizui talmidei
chachomim, a sin that of itself is cause for the
destruction of the land (see Shabbos 119b).
When his yeshiva (Slobodka) first came to Eretz Yisroel more
than eighty years ago, HaRav Moshe Mordechai Epstein,
zt'l, wrote: ". . . only through Torah and those great
in Torah will Israel and its land be built."