Rabbis: Shas 'collaborating with the enemy'

"Severe prohibition against transferring to Arabs any kind of military equipment."

pa police 224 ap (photo credit: AP)
pa police 224 ap
(photo credit: AP)
Shas and other government coalition members who permitted the transfer of armored cars and firearms to the Palestinian Authority are aiding and abetting terrorism and will lead to the shedding of Jewish blood, according to a Jewish legal decision issued by a group of hawkish rabbis this week. The rabbis also called on IDF officers and soldiers to resist military orders to facilitate the transferral. Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Labor) said last week he had agreed to the transfer of new military vehicles and equipment to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's security forces as well as to the easing of travel restrictions for West Bank residents. In addition, Palestinian police will receive Kalashnikov rifles, rubber bullets and night-vision equipment, according to Army Radio. Barak said the roster included equipment for Abbas's forces, including his elite Presidential Guard, and new vehicles, some of them armored. Barak's office said he discussed the items with PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad but no details were provided regarding types or amounts. The rabbinic decision which does not specifically mention Shas but indirectly targets the Sephardi haredi party as a government coalition member is another example of pressure from the Right on Shas to leave the government coalition. So far, Shas has managed to deflect right-wing criticism by proving that it can obtain concessions beneficial to the Right by remaining in the coalition. Shas managed to remove the freeze on building in Givat Ze'ev, a northern Jerusalem neighborhood. Shas also received a promise from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that a freeze on building in Betar Illit would be lifted. However, the very fact that Shas remains in a government coalition that makes concessions to the Palestinian Authority, such as the removal of security checkpoints and other easing of restrictions, is considered a betrayal in the eyes of many right-wing rabbis. The transferral of armored cars and firearms to the Palestinian Authority as a means of strengthening it vis a vis Hamas has aroused a group of rabbis to issue a halachic decision that deems Shas's political behavior unlawful according to Jewish law. Chief Rabbi of Hebron-Kiryat Arba Dov Lior and Rabbi Meir Mazuz, head of the Kiseh Rachamim Yeshiva, an influential spiritual leader and kabbalist, were two of the most prominent signatories. The other rabbis were Ya'acov Yosef, son of Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, David Druckman, rabbi of the Kiryat Motzkin neighborhood near Haifa and Shalom Dov Wolpe, a messianic Chabad rabbi. "There is a severe prohibition against transferring to Arabs any kind of military equipment," wrote the rabbis. "Anyone who does so (whether by voting in favor of the transferral in the government or making it possible logistically) is an accomplice to bloodshed and a collaborator with the enemy." In response, Shas spokesman Ro'i Lachmanovitch said that his party follows the halachic decisions of its own spiritual leaders. "We are obligated to adhere to them and only to them. The halachic opinion of the right-wing rabbis will be published in a weekly called Eretz Yisrael Shelanu [The Land of Israel is Ours] which is distributed in synagogues across the nation. The rabbis' decision was made public in response to the government's decision to transfer armored cars and guns to the Palestinian Authority as part of US-brokered peace negotiations. "The present government is going ahead with the transferral despite clear evidence that Palestinian Authority police were responsible for several terrorist attacks against Jews recently. These include the murder of the righteous Ido Zoldan and Achikam Amichai and David Rubin, may God avenge their deaths. The government is doing this despite knowing that the guns will eventually find their way to Hamas soldiers."