Rabbi calls for decisive struggle over Ulpana

Prominent rabbi from Beit El rejects efforts by PMO calling on him to ensure peaceful evacuation of WB outpost.

Ulpana outpost near Beit El 370 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
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 press.
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.
In 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.”
In another 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 transgress.
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 street.”
“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 demeaning others.”