May/June 2000

Rabbis Decry Betrayal of SLA

Aaron Lerner Date: 29 May, 2000

Call of Hesder Yeshiva heads: Defamation of the name of God!

Keeping loyal is the most binding value in the world of faith; to remain loyal to the compact between man and his God, between man and his wife, between man and his fellow man - and also remaining loyal to a pact between Israel and another nation.

According to Scriptures (in the books of Joshua and Samuel), when a king of Israel broke the pact between Israel and another nation - Israel was punished with hard drought for three year running. The Talmud and Jewish law put the breaking of a pact with another nation in the most serious category - "defamation of the name of God".

Therefore the shock and pain is so great today, in particular among student of the Hesder yeshivas who fought as part of the pact with the SLA, that we failed to honor the pact.

We call on the residents of Israel to help the members of the SLA staying in the state in every possible area: contributions, visits where they are, help in taking care of the children and very act of encouragement.

Likewise we call on the Government of Israel, that is the government of all of us, to immediately establish a state committee that will do the soul searching for us all in the matter of the breaking of the pact with the SLA.

The committee should investigate:

A. The past - what were the options available to honor our pact, their costs and if they were exhausted.

B. The present - what is possible to do now regarding the members of the SLA that escaped to us, and in particular regarding the SLA men who remained in Lebanon.

C. The future - to creatively check options to return also the members of the SLA who exiled, to return to their homes in peace.

During these hard hours for our allies, we pray that there will not be bloodshed and there will not be a defamation of name of God. It is incumbent on all of us to do everything possible to distance from a great defamation of God's name and to come close to the sanctification of God's name. For this is what the Jerusalem Talmud says regarding the breaking of a pact with another nation: "The sanctification of God's name is greater than the defamation of God's name".

Signed, the Rabbis of the Hesder Yeshivas
(32 names follow)

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