Hachrazah 5766 Av 3
The Sanhedrin, being the authorized institution to decide in military matters, issues definitive moral guidance on this matter and addresses the current administration's defense policy.
Informal translation from Hebrew of the 3 Av, 5766 (28 July, 2006) statement:
Shall I respond to the emergency draft notice (tsav 8) for the war in Lebanon?r
A citizen residing in Hebron has turned to the court on the 22nd of Tamuz with the question:
Shall I respond to the emergency draft notice (tsav 8) for the war in Lebanon?
(Temporary Order) A citizen who is called for reserve duty requests the decision of the court after his faith in the IDF was harmed following the expulsion of Jews from the communities of Gush Katif and Samaria, and the never ending harassment in Hebron against the residents even at the height of fighting, which strengthens the feeling of alienation, in particular, as long as the sword of expulsion has not been removed from Judea and Samaria.
Background: The enemy is attacking from the Lebanese border as far as his hand reaches with mortar and missiles which causes human sacrifices, and represents an existential threat to the entire nation of Israel. The IDF has gone on the offense and, as it seems, intends to use heavy fighting to clean the area of the northern border of Hizbollah fighters.
Decision: It is a mitzvah to join in the war to help Israel from the hands of an aggressor. One should follow orders that do not contradict the commandments of the Torah. Every other order should be weighed independently.
This temporary order does not apply to places that are not a battle field, and each other case needs to be investigated independently.
This being said, the court is aware of the consequences of joining in this war.
1. Much to our anguish, there is reason to fear that the government will continue its policies of disengagement and convergence.
2. Soldiers receive orders flowing from a perverted system under an “ethics code” that is known to have brought upon us the current war. One of its components is “purity of arms” which means the saving of the enemy at the price of the blood of Israel.
3. The arms of government throw in to jail without time limit girls who refuse to sign their agreement for justice that is not according to Torah, thereby removing the claim of rule of law.
4. The faithful of Israel are thrown in jail and expelled from their homes and families without trial for long months. Heads of yeshivas and their students are beaten without any provocation from their side.
5. Residents of the Gaza Strip were under enemy fire of mortar and Kassams for long years without the IDF taking proper steps to restrain the fire.
6. The current war is the fruit of inflexibility of the heart, and the adoption of long term policies of fleeing and withdrawal which brought this current war.
7. There is a serious fear that victory, over the enemies of Israel and the prestige which will be given to the government, will be translated in to actualization of the declared policy of the regime to continue with the destruction of communities in Judea and Samaria. In spite of all this, the answer to your question is: It is incumbent upon you to be drafted according to the order. All accounts and feelings are pushed aside at the time of war, and they should be pushed from the heart, and when something else comes, we can instruct on the halacha.
The five of us sign unanimously.
Given today, 22 Tamuz 5766
Rabbi Yisrael Ariel – President of the Court
Rabbi Dov Avraham ben-Shor
Rabbi Hillel Weiss
Rabbi Tzvi Rogin
Rabbi Dov Meir Stein