Chapter Two

A Clear Ruling Required
The Tumult They Made About This — Helped
Every Inch They Give Away From the West Bank Places Hundreds of Lives in Danger!

The Rebbe cried out many times for the rabbis to publicize a ruling that forbids the ceding of an iota of land, and even affirmed that the uproar resulting from this ruling has been effective:

The tumult they made regarding this — helped, and has not only caused people to refrain from being silent, but to confidently state the ruling, to the extent that it has given many rabbis the courage to send letters to the Prime Minister ...

The Rebbe was not content with this, but went on to spell out that such a ruling must be based upon Jewish Law. For example, in his address of 9 Kislev 5738 (1977), the Rebbe said,

In order to issue a ruling concerning these matters, one must be well versed in the details of the issue. Therefore, to save the rabbis the "trouble" of researching it for themselves, I shall give them the information based upon my own inquiries. This includes the opinions of the military experts — namely, that every bit of land from the West Bank which is given away would endanger the lives of hundreds of Jews, G-d forbid. There is also the conspicuous outcome of past episodes, when the opinions of the military experts were not been taken into account.

If they choose not to rely upon my information — let them investigate the issues themselves. Then, in accordance with the dictates of the existing reality, they should issue a clear, decisive ruling: Does pikuach nefesh require that we cave in under the pressures of non-Jews living in whatever country, and that of the Jews who are "afraid and soft-hearted" (by virtue of their alleged diplomatic savvy)? or, does pikuach nefesh make it forbidden to surrender even the tiniest bit of land from Judea and Samaria, as the military authorities affirm?

The Rebbe then summarizes what should be the cardinal element of a rabbi’s appraisement:

The main point is that it is forbidden to reckon with the opinion of the politicians. Before taking a step related to national security, one must consult the military authorities. And in fact, they maintain that any part of Judea and Samaria, (or any area within the boundaries of the Land of Israel) which is given away, places the lives of untold numbers of Jews in immediate danger, G-d forbid (because one is not allowed to rely on a miracle).

Yet it is not sufficient to consult just any military personality. One must be certain that his opinions are free of any biases which are not based purely upon security considerations. In the Rebbe’s words:

According to the ruling in the Code of Jewish Law, one must consult military men and not "statesmen" (politicians).

There are those who would assert that it is not necessary to consult military men. This assertion contradicts the Code of Jewish Law. According to the Code, when one has a medical question which involves the saving of human life, one must consult a doctor and not, say, the director of the hospital, since the director may have other considerations. He may reason that it would pay to let a certain patient die, in order that in two days or a year he can save two or three people.... Yet, according to Jewish Law, when the issue concerns saving human life, one is obligated to save life immediately. The judgment that by letting one patient die, he will be able to save two later, is in absolute conflict with the Code of Jewish Law (besides the fact that the judgment could be wrong or unfounded).

The same applies regarding the subject at hand: When dealing with potential loss of life, it is imperative to consult the military, because only they know what is necessary to ensure security; not the politicians.

The Rebbe then sums things up:

From here it is clear that when a military man expresses a diplomatic statement, we must ascertain if his reasoning addresses the issue of saving human life (which will guarantee that security is his main concern), or is based only upon political considerations — which contradict the Code of Jewish Law!

The Rebbe concludes with a call to act swiftly and issue a verdict concerning this question.

Since this is a matter in which every day makes a difference, they should make all their inquiries at the earliest possible opportunity and should lose no time (since this is a matter of life and death) ... without doubt they will immediately issue a clear and decisive ruling....

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