Paul Eidelberg To the Rabbis of Israel:

With all due respect to eminent rabbis who support a referendum on the Sharon "Disengagement Plan," I ask,

(1) Do they understand that this plan violates Israeli as well as international law?

(2) Do they understand that the uprooting of almost 10,000 Jews from their homes and synagogues in Gaza and Northern Samaria is but the preliminary of expelling countless more Jews from all of Judea and Samaria to facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state?

(3) Do they understand that turning Judea and Samaria, the heartland of the Jewish people, over to Arabs cannot but endanger the lives of more Jews -- a matter of pikuach-nefesh?

(4) Do they understand that rewarding terrorists is a violation of international law and the principles of the Nuremberg trials, which require the punishment of those who commit crimes against humanity? Indeed, do they understand that rewarding terrorists -- and these Arab terrorists are dedicated to Israel's destruction -- cannot but encourage terrorism throughout the world?

(5) Finally, in considering the issue of whether it is halachically permissible to surrender Jewish land to non-Jews, have they seriously examined the contrasting halachic opinion of the renowned Talmudic scholar, HaGaon HaRav Chaim Zimmerman (z"l)?

I have already disseminated Parts I and II of his essay on the "The Prohibition of Abandoning Land in Eretz-Yisrael." But because eminent rabbis support Sharon's "Disengagement Plan," I offer below only the two concluding paragraphs of Part V of Dr. Zimmerman's 10,000-word halachic discourse:

The relationship of pikuach-nefesh to giving away shtachim [parts of] Eretz-Yisrael is a very intricate halacha, and cannot be solved by one's wishes or intuitions or political inclinations. This halacha and its psak can be solved only by a shakla-vetarya, a discussion and debate of all the great halacha-people, meaning all the genuine gedolei-haTorah -- the Torah giants of our generation. They must convene in one place and exchange all the halachic arguments for and against their respective points of view. At the conclusion of this discussion and debate, a majority if not unanimous decision must issue from this conference.

It must be clearly understood that only gedolei-haTorah -- the great people of Torah who are universally accepted for their fear of Heaven and for their Torah learning -- are qualified to decide the halacha concerning shtachim. No secular or pseudo-Talmudic scholars are qualified to be members of this conference. But it must be reiterated that without the meeting and debate of all the gedolei-haTorah in one place at one time, any individual decision in relation to the pikuach-nefesh of shtachim has no status of psak-halacha binding on Klal-Yisrael in Eretz-Yisrael.

* * *

Israel's most eminent rabbis are surely cognizant of Dr. Zimmerman's work on the Rambam, which is in Hebrew. But they may not be familiar with his halachic discourse on "The Prohibition of Abandoning Land in Eretz-Yisrael," which is in English. Hence it behooves men of Torah to bring Rav Chaim's work to the attention of the rabbis in question.

Prof. Paul Eidelberg

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