Livni orders disciplinary action for rabbi

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has ordered the Chief Rabbinical Council to put the state-employed rabbi of Kiryat Motzkin before a disciplinary committee for allegedly violating his obligation as a civil servant not to express political opinions in public. The Justice Ministry refused to provide details about Livni's complaint, but it was almost certainly in response to a High Court petition filed by the Progressive Movement's Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) on November 13, demanding that she do so. The rabbi, David Drukman, told the NFC internet news site that "the leftist-Reform assault against me is because I dared to declare 'the word of God, that is the halacha' regarding the question of handing over territories belonging to the Jewish settlement in Israel to the worst among our enemies. In my statements, I warned, together with my rabbinical colleagues, that according to the halacha as written in the Shulhan Aruch, the disengagement, (that is, the humiliating expulsion of Jews, etc. etc.) will imperil the lives of the nation living in Zion." Drukman is head of the Pikuah Nefesh organization which was established in March 1995. The organization published its first petition against the Oslo Accords and what it feared would be the withdrawal from settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. The petition was signed by state-paid city and neighborhood rabbis. In the period leading up to the disengagement, Drukman spoke out against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan. He allegedly urged the public to move to Gush Katif to block disengagement "even at the price of going to jail." In the petition, IRAC quoted Drukman as saying, "we shall do all we can in the battle of the Lord to prevent this expulsion and destruction."