Psak 5766 Tamuz 22
The Sanhedrin, being the authorized institution to decide in matters of military policy, issues definitive moral guidance to soldiers on active duty and in the reserves. It also comments on the current administration's defense policy with regard to attacks from across the northern border of the country.
Informal translation from Hebrew of the 22 Tamuz, 5766, (18 July, 2006) statement:
A Citizen and Resident of Hebron Petitions the Court: Should military call-up orders be heeded for the war in Lebanon?
A citizen who was called for reserve duty petitioned a decision from the court after his confidence and trust in the IDF as army of the Jewish nation was destroyed in the aftermath of expulsion the Jews from settlements of Gush Katif, Shomron and Hebron. The plans which continue to be made against the settlers even in the midst of war, have intensified his feeling of alienation [and perhaps gives legal backing for the rejection of military service], especially when the threat of expulsion has not been removed from the Jewish residents of the West Bank.
Background: The enemy is attacking from across the border of Lebanon. Its missile bombardments are taking the lives of many innocent victims and constitute an existential hazard for all of the Jewish people The IDF has responded by waging a fierce battle and apparently intends, through hard fighting, to clear the norther border of belligerent Hizballah.
Determination: It is obligatory to participate in this effort, to assist in the defense of the Jewish people. One must honor [military] directives that do not contradict Torah principles [of the Bible], and any other directive must be weighed accordingly.
This special judgment does not apply to areas that are not actively engaged in combat, each situation must be considered individually.
The court is aware of the following implications of participation in this war:
- 1. Regrettably there is reason to assume that the government will continue its policies of "disconnection" (expulsion of Jewish population centers) and "turning inward" (renouncing Jewish land ownership).
- 2. The soldiers receive orders that are derived from a wholly politically, so-called "Ethical code", that is known to have brought upon us the present war. One of its ingredients is "purity of weapons" (make sure everyone sees that the enemy shot first) which is a salvation for our enemies, at the cost of Jewish lives.
- 3. The government authorities throw young girls into jail without time limit, because of their refusal to to sign their consent to a judicial decision which is against Torah Law (the Bible), thus invalidating any claim of legal authority.
- 4. Peaceful Jewish citizens are thrown into jail, expelled from their homes with their families, yet recourse to any kind of legal hearing is delayed for many long months. Heads of Yeshivas and their students punished without any provocation from their side.
- 5. The residents of Gaza were left to suffer the firearms of the enemy and shelling of mortars and Kassam missiles without the IDF taking any action to restrain the enemy.
- 6. The present war is the fruit of self delusion and the adoption over many years of the policy of [appeasement,] flight and withdrawal.
There is a great possibility that victory over the enemies of Israel and the prestige that will be awarded to the government, will be translated into the realization of its ostensible policy of the administration to continue in its dismantling of Jewish population centers in the West Bank,
In spite of all these considerations, the judgment in this case is: One must report for duty according to this [particular military] decree [call-up].
All other consideration and sentiments must be set aside during war, and one must remove them from the heart and approach the matter in the light of halachah (Jewish Law).
Signed this day, 22 of Tamuz, 5766:
Chief Justice R' Yisrael Ariel,
Justice R' Dov Avraham Ben-Shorr
Justice R' Prof. Hillel Weiss
Justice R' Tsvi Rogin
Justice R' Dov Meir Stein