Leading rabbi calls to build outposts in response to PM's 'weakness'

'The settlers' courageous spirit will continue to flourish long after this or that president or prime minister,' says Rabbi Dov Lior.

dov lior 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
dov lior 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The settler community must establish new outposts immediately across Judea and Samaria as a remedy for what he called the "weakness" communicated by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in his speech Sunday, Hebron-Kiryat Arba Rabbi Dov Lior said Monday. "Go out today to the hilltops of Judea and Samaria and build new settlements that will strengthen Israel's security in the face of all the weaknesses," declared a statement signed by Lior, in the name of the Yesha Rabbinic Committee. "Every expression of weakness and softness on our part strengthens our enemies and provides them with a tailwind to act against the Jewish people," added Lior. "The blessed settlement activity and the settlers' courageous spirit will continue to flourish long after this or that president or prime minister." Lior, considered one of the most influential rabbis among religious settlers, was the only spiritual leader to call publicly to step up efforts to "create facts on the ground" by establishing more outposts in response to Netanyahu's speech. A spokesman for the National Union Party's rabbinical council said that in addition to Lior, other figures such as Rabbi Zalman Melamed of Beit El, Rabbi Haim Steiner of Yeshivat Mercaz Harav and Rabbi David Chai Halevi of Bat Yam support continuing to establish outposts throughout Judea and Samaria. The spokesman added that the rabbinical council has called on the NU's MKs to present a bill that would make it impossible for any political party to adopt a policy that directly contradicts the party's platform. "Bibi specifically said that unlike Tzipi Livni, he was opposed to a two-state solution. And now he has backtracked," the spokesman said. Netanyahu makes no mention either for or against a two-state solution in his 2009 National Security Platform. He does express a willingness to make "concessions in exchange for peace" while rejecting Annapolis's guidelines for attempting to reach a final status agreement immediately. In contrast to Lior, some settlement rabbis reacted favorably to Netanyahu's speech. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, head of the Ateret Yerushalayim Yeshiva in Jerusalem's Old City, said that Netanyahu's speech was a politician's way of saying "no" to a two-state solution. "Being a good diplomat means you cannot say no," said Aviner. "But Prime Minister Netanyahu effectively said no to a Palestinian state by making conditions that the Arabs will never be able to accept." Aviner added that no Israeli government had the right to create a Palestinian state in Israel nor does it have the right to block Jewish settlement expansion. "This is the Land of Israel, not the Land of Ishmael," he said. "We have no moral obligation to create a Palestinian state here. And the Bible is our constitution, it overrides any government decision." Aviner added that while the entire land of Israel, including Judea and Samaria belong to the Jewish people, he opposed any use of force against other Jews to prevent the dismantling of outposts. Rabbi Daniel Shilo of Kedumim also thought that Netanyahu's speech was basically positive. "Netanyahu talked about the spiritual connection the Jewish people have to the land of Israel. He is the first to demand that the Arabs recognize the UN resolution of 1948 that defines Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people," said Shilo. "Of course no Arab could ever do that. It is important for the entire world to understand that. So I think that basically Netanyahu's speech was positive."