Last week, 400 Rabbis in Israel signed a proclamation rejecting the “Deal of the Century” peace plan. Without calling up every Rabbi in the Promised Land, I tried in vain to find a Torah scholar who would ratify the peace proposal that was set forth in Washington by United States President Donald Trump, indicating that the broad consensus of Israeli Rabbis believes that the deal is a rotten one. We asked a few leading Rabbis of the Religious Zionist community to explain their vehement opposition.
HaRav Dov Lior, Former Chief Rabbi of Hevron
Anyone who supports this plan is a follower of the Spies in the Wilderness who weakened the spirit of the Nation and betrayed the Land of Israel. This is not a deal – it is a mousetrap, and woe to all to grab at the cheese.
Before the establishment of the Medinah, in response to the Peel Commission, which sliced up the Land of Israel and drastically restricted Aliyah via the White Paper, HaRav Moshe Harlop declared that it was preferable to have one’s hand chopped off than to sign the treacherous document. Years previously, the Balfour Declaration allotted to the Jews all of the borders of Biblical Israel, on both sides of the Jordan River. Then the British gave Transjordon to the Arabs with a scratch of the pen. HaRav Harlop said it is preferable to have one’s hand chopped off than to sign any document agreeing to give any portion of Ertetz Yisrael to the goyim. At that time, we were physically and economically weak. We needed the goyim to survive. Today isn’t the same. Today we can uphold the Torah obligation to keep the Land of Israel under our control, and from that will come the greatest blessing. You can’t perform a transgression for the promise of a reward. You can’t agree to an agreement that states if you work 2 hours on Shabbat you will receive a ten million dollars bonus. People said to HaRav Harlop – if we don’t agree, we won’t have any State at all. He replied that it was better to remain in exile rather than to transgress the word of Hashem and the Torah commandment to conquer and dwell in the Land of Israel, and to keep it under our control, as delineated by Ramban in his treatise, “Supplement to the Sefer HaMitzvot of the Rambam,” Positive Commandment 4. The same holds true today. It is better to reject the whole plan than to open the door to a foreign terror regime in our midst. Administrations in Washington come and go. Once you sign an international agreement, there’s no backing out. And who knows what a leftist government in Israel will agree to give the Arabs for the illusion of peace? We cannot be an active partner to such an heretical agreement in any shape or form. To do so would be a clear continuation of the Sin of the Spies, as the verse states: “They despised the cherished Land.