Ulpana outpost near Beit El 370 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
Beit El Chief Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed, a prominent national-religious
leader, issued a public letter on Wednesday calling for a “decisive struggle”
over the pending evacuation of five buildings in the Ulpana outpost on the
outskirts of Beit El.
“We call on the entire public and on MKs of the
Land of Israel Faithful [lobby] to join in this decisive struggle with
dedication and sacrifice,” the rabbi wrote in a short missive to the
Officials from the Prime Minister’s Office have made efforts in
recent days to reach out to the influential Melamed to ensure a peaceful
evacuation of the outpost.
The High Court of Justice ruled in May that
the evacuation and destruction of five apartment buildings in Ulpana, built on
private Palestinian land, must go ahead and be completed by July 1.
his letter, Melamed praised National Union chairman Ya’acov Katz for leading the
campaign against the “decree of destruction of the Ulpana homes,” blessing him
that his struggle be successful.
Melamed, founder and dean of the Beit El
Yeshiva, also cited Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Kook, who died in 1982 and was one of the
foremost pioneers of the religious settlement movement, quoting him as saying,
“It is upon every Jew faithful to Israel to stand with complete and utter
self-sacrifice against the abandonment of the smallest part of the land of our
life and the deliverance of it into the hands of non- Jews.”
place, Melamed pointed out, Kook said of the same issue that Jews are obligated
to rebel through self-sacrifice, meaning take their own life rather than
Speaking to his students on Saturday night, the rabbi said
that the campaign against the Ulpana evacuation would follow two paths to
achieve its goal of preserving the outpost: one of dialogue and one of protest,
although he said that he would not divulge details about “the strength or
severity” of this protest campaign.
Melamed added that it was not yet
time for the yeshiva students to erect tents at the Ulpana outpost, but they
should instead make greater efforts in their Torah studies and improve their
behavior toward their fellow man, “to be better people and increase your merits
through acts of kindness and prayer.”
Speaking with The Jerusalem Post
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, dean of the Ateret Yerushalayim yeshiva (formerly known as
Ateret Cohanim) in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and another
influential figure in the national-religious world, described the order to
evacuate Ulpana as an enormous mistake, but said that any protest against it
should be done peaceably.
“The evacuation will be a national crime and a
humanitarian crime,” the rabbi said. “You don’t throw people out onto the
“It’s clear that we need to struggle against it,” he continued,
“but as Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Kook said, such struggles need to be conducted
without raising our hands up against each other, without hatred and without