Psak 5769 Nisan 1
Translation from Hebrew of the 1 Nisan, 5769 (24 March 2009) statement:
On the transfer of national, religious, and spiritual assets to foreign sovereignty
Rosh Hodesh Nissan, 5769
Letter from the Beit Din of the Sanhedrin
To the President of the State of Israel
To the Incoming Prime Minister Mr. Binyamin Netanyahu
To the Outgoing Prime Minister Mr. Ehud Olmert
Ministers and Members of Knesset
To the esteemed heads of state,
- “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, they shall never hold their peace day nor night: 'You that make mention of the LORD, take no rest, And give Him no rest, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.' The LORD has sworn by His right hand, and by the arm of His strength: Surely I will no more give thy corn to be food for thy enemies; and the sons of strangers shall not drink thy wine, for which thou hast labored.” Isaiah 62:6-8
Regarding the upcoming visit of the Pope
During the Lag B’Omer season, Pope Benedict XVI is expected to visit the holy sites of his religion and to put forward a series of agreements between the Vatican and the State of Israel.
We would like to call your attention to the Sanhedrin’s stance on this subject.
The State of Israel grants freedom of worship to every religion except the Jews on their most sanctified site, the Temple Mount: there, they are granted neither freedom of prayer nor minimal freedom of religion. The State of Israel thus contradicts the purpose for which it was established and undermines its own foundations.
In contrast the State of Israel makes special efforts to transfer its national, religious, and spiritual assets to the sons of strangers.
For many years negotiations and contacts to reach agreements have been conducted regarding what the Catholic Church sees as its property or desires for itself, whether within previous confines such as Mt. Zion or within the Old City, the Kinneret, and other places. Those who initiated the concept of the “Holy Basin” principally intend to remove exclusive Jewish sovereignty from the Temple Mount and the Old City and in effect, aim at the total removal of Jewish sovereignty.
We expect you to be particularly watchful regarding Jerusalem as Passover approaches “lest our right hand forget its skill”.
The government of Israel, as a Jewish government, must heighten awareness of the freedom of the Jewish people more than ever on the holiday of Passover.
The State of Israel is also subject to the deed of ownership – the Bible - according to which it claimed ownership of the land at its very establishment. Therefore the government must actualize Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem, the city of God, the royal city, capital of Israel, heart of the world, and it must guarantee the right of worship and prayer of Jews on the Temple Mount and realize the obligation of Jews to bring the Passover sacrifice on the 14th of Nissan on the eve of Passover, this year and every year. The Passover sacrifice redeems Israel from spiritual excommunication and distinguishes between Israel and the nations [Ex. 12: 27,43], and it is a shield and protection against all of the unfounded demands of foreign nations to take possession of the land of Israel along with us [Ex. 13]
It should be noted that the third President of the State of Israel, the late Zalman Shazar, found the courage in 5723 when Pope Pius IV visited Israel to read him the verse from the Prophet Micha, chapter 4: “For let all the peoples walk each one in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever”. Israel’s Chief Rabbis at that time protected the honor of Israel and refused to meet the pope.
In 5760  Pope John Paul II visited Jerusalem. During his visits attempts were made by various agents to remove Israeli sovereignty from the Temple Mount, in an effort to demonstrate the sovereignty of a foreign rule and to allow the visit to take place without the presence of any representative of Israel on the holiest site of Judaism. These attempts failed because of vigorous public objections.
The Rabbi of the Holy Sites and of the Kotel, Rav Shmuel Rabinovitz, has demonstrated commendable behavior in refusing to stop Jewish prayer at the Kotel during the present Pope’s visit, which is scheduled for Lag B’Omer.
The speedy reconciliation with the Pope after a series of unfortunate statements that he made against us does no honor to the People of Israel. All of the political and Torah authorities must do whatever they can to prevent the signing or holding of any agreement that deviates from the spirit of this document and must express their disapproval at the Catholic Restorationist trends whose aim is to nullify the sovereign power of the State of Israel and the status of the Jewish People, the People of Israel in the Land of Israel, its holy land.
Please clarify your position to your people, to the State, and to the entire world.
Show respect for the God of your forefathers, your city, and your nation and do not act grovel submissively before foreigners and disparage the stature of the people of Israel.
In these difficult days we face a danger from Iran and the entire region working together with the seventy nations of the world, pushing us to continue to retreat. This only diminishes Jews, the nation, and the State of Israel and does irreversible damage to our deterrent power.
- “Let all of the nations of the world see that My name is called upon you, and they shall fear you”.
Ever since the liberation of Jerusalem as a unified city by the Israeli Defense Forces in 5727  the nations and religions of the world have not reconciled themselves to the sovereignty and restoration of the Jewish people in their eternal capital where the Temple will eventually be rebuilt to serve the God of Israel, God of the world, and a king of Israel will again rule, a descendant of King David.
Especially ever since the Oslo Accords in 5753 , the Vatican acting as a state with theological views, signed a series of secret documents with various agents in the State of Israel - behind the back of the citizens – These agents are totally devoid of any respect for the spiritual and diplomatic status of the Jewish people, and their main goal is to transfer Jewish national assets in Jerusalem to the hands of foreigners and to promote measures that will undermine the religious and political ownership of the People of Israel over their holy sites: first and foremost, the Temple Mount, the Kotel, and the entire Old City of Jerusalem, transferring them to the Vatican and international agents, which will inevitable seize them territorially from the State of Israel . Thus, too, is the plan for other sites in our holy land.
The Beit Din of the Sanhedrin declares that the representatives of the State of Israel may represent the Jewish People as long as they are acting as representatives of the Jewish People over history in accordance with its tradition and laws. Insofar as this is not the case, their representation is not legitimate.
These representatives, even if they are acting in the manner of the kings of Judah Hezekiah and Zedekiah who showed the treasures of the Holy Temple to the agents of foreign powers, are not authorized to transfer ownership or absolute tenancy to lands and buildings in the Land of Israel to any foreign religious or political agent.
Therefore all of the documents which were drawn up by such representatives with the Vatican as a theological and diplomatic agents in opposition to the spiritual essence of the People of Israel are void. All of the agreements with the Vatican which have been made or will be made in this spirit are null and void and the Vatican should not believe that they will retain them. The Vatican as the head of all Christian church is responsible for the legacy of Rome which occupied Jerusalem, dispossessed its Jews, and destroyed their land. All of the Christian churches currently standing in Jerusalem are the product of the destruction of the Jewish people, their dispossession and exile to the Christian exile which Christianity glorifies in as being everlasting. This is in addition to the priceless treasures, both material and spiritual, belonging to the Jews which lie in the cellars of the Vatican, and the countless synagogues all over the world which were confiscated by the Vatican and its representatives and never returned to their rightful owners.
Anyone who negotiates and signs any agreement to change the status of the State of Israel in its holy sites in Jerusalem and the Land of Israel is raising his hand against the Torah, against his own faith, his people, his land, against his own homeland and against the home of his fathers.
There is a strict prohibition against approving any agreement that transfers state ownership to foreigners, and this has been set forth in the criminal code of the State of Israel. Continuing to seek favor in the eyes of the Church by making illegal agreements might end, God forbid, in devastating religious wars all over the world.
Yoel Schwatrz, Head of the Bet Din, Sanhedrin
Yisrael Ariel, Head of the Bet Din Am U’medina
Dov Meir Stein, Hillel Weiss, Avraham Dov Ben Shor, Yishai Babad, Yishayahu Cohen Hollander, Meir Halevi Hakak, Mordechai Kislev, Ezra Tepper, Pinhas Ben-Zvi Angel
- The collection of documents has been sent to me by Dr. Daisy Stern and is posted on the Sanhedrin site www.TheSanhedrin.org
This ruling in the news
- Chief Rabbinate Forbids Site Transfer to Vatican (Arutz-7, May 6, 2009)
- Israel’s Control of Mt. Zion in Danger (Arutz-7 April 26, 2009)
- Netanyahu, ministers to attend Berlin summit (Ha'aretz - April 5, 2009)
- Israël : pressions religieuses contre des concessions diplomatiques au Saint-Siège (Radio Ville-Marie 2009-04-03)
- A Rabbi Greets The Pope In Rome, En Route To Jerusalem (Evening Bulletin - Apr 2, 2009)
- From the Vatican: April 1, 2009 (The Catholic Spirit - Apr 1, 2009)
- Israeli hardliners warn against diplomatic deal with Vatican (Catholic Culture - Mar 31, 2009)
- הלחימה במבצע עופרת יצוקה,מתוך כנס בנושא במשכנות שאננים.מבחינה (Global Report - 30 Mar 2009)
- האמנם חיפושיו של וינדל ג'ונס אחרי כלי המקדש האבודים היו ההשראה (Global Report - 30 Mar 2009)
- Warning Issued Not to Sign With Vatican (Arutz Sheva - Mar 30, 2009)
- Vatican releases details of papal trip to Holy Land (Catholic News Service - Mar 27, 2009)