Does Halacha allow me to hit that policeman?

Modern Orthodox magazine to probe practical, theological questions among religious Zionists.

amona clashes 298.88  (photo credit: AP [file])
amona clashes 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
"If I see a policeman about to bring down a baton on the head of a young girl, do I have the right, from a halachic point of view, to hit that policeman with a brick?" This question and many others, both practical and theological, halachic and philosophical, that are not uncommon among young religious Zionists who have grappled with police in the Judean hills, thrown paint on soldiers in Hebron, and used their bodies to block the Gaza pullout, will be dealt with in the summer issue of Tzohar, the influential rabbinic quarterly for modern Orthodox Israelis. The issue, which roughly coincides with the anniversary of disengagement from Gush Katif and Northern Samaria, will be dedicated to the most controversial issues facing post-disengagement, post-Amona religious Zionism. Articles penned by leading settler rabbis will gauge the limits of the struggle for Greater Israel, reexamine the goals of religious Zionism and breast-beat a little as well, according to Rabbi Ezriel Ariel, Tzohar's editor-in-chief. "The articles are reflections of the soul searching and heated discussions rampant among religious Zionists of all types since the destruction of Gush Katif and Northern Samaria and the violence at Amona," said Ariel. "Young people have experienced violent clashes with police or soldiers. They have very specific questions. And they need answers." Rabbi Shlomo Rosenfeld, of the Mehola Hesder Yeshiva in the Jordan Valley, will analyze the motto 'we won't forgive, we won't forget' in light of halachic sources that prohibit revenge and command love of one's fellow Jew. Rabbi Shmuel Ariel of Otniel will argue that there was no religious value in promising, as did former Sephardi chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu before the Gaza pullout, that God would not let it happen. Rabbi Noah Vizhonsky, formerly rabbi of the evacuated Moshav Katif, will examine whether a special blessing of thanks to God should be made by evacuated Gush Katif residents for being taken from a more dangerous place (Gaza) to a less dangerous one (Nitzan). Rabbi Ya'acov Zisberg of Kedumim will examine the mourning custom of tearing one's garment in the wake of evacuation of Jewish settlements. According to Ariel, mourning symptoms accurately describe the psychological aftereffects felt by many right-wing religious Zionists. "Anger is simmering," said Ariel. "People are livid - at the courts, the police the IDF. But some of the rancor is turned inward. Even expelled Gush Katif settlers are blamed. Never openly - but the anger is always just under the surface, as though they were asking: Why didn't you fight harder? Why were you so passive?" But in parallel with the very emotional processes akin to mourning, settlers are also struggling in an ideological dimension, said Ariel. "Right-wing religious Zionists are questioning their own ideology. You see it on Internet forums, in Bnei Akiva and other religious youth groups, in prose and poetry. "Nevertheless, these ideological struggles for the most part are not the conclusion, they are the unproven hypotheses. Proof is Independence Day. Almost everyone celebrated as they have in past years. "That's not to say nothing has changed. I have no doubt that this time around the confrontations between our young people and the security forces will be different. Nobody wants to repeat the failure of Gush Katif. But how it will be different, nobody knows."