Zionist Rabbis Criticize Smotrich

Zionist Rabbis against Smotrich: "misleading the public"

The controversy surrounding the demolition in Binyamin: Following the demolition carried out by police forces and officials from the Civil Administration in Givat A'ira Shachar near the settlement of Kochav HaShachar in Binyamin, a series of Zionist rabbis issued an unusual letter criticizing the statements of close associates of Smotrich

The evacuation in A'ira Shachar (No credit)

Two days after the demolition in Givat A'ira Shachar in Binyamin and the claims by associates of Smotrich that the settlement was situated on "private Arab lands, and therefore its evacuation was legally unavoidable," a group of Zionist rabbis issued an extraordinary letter yesterday (Wednesday) to public figures, criticizing these statements and asserting that many areas defined as "private lands" are not actually such. They emphasized that there is no reason for the State of Israel to respect the arbitrary registration of the Jordanian government.

"Arbitrary and unauthorized registration of the Jordanian government that ruled the country in the days before the Six Day War"

In the exceptional letter that is being issued against the backdrop of the statements made after the demolition – according to which the settlement is situated on "private Arab lands" and therefore must be evacuated – the rabbis criticize these statements and label them as "misleading the public, stemming from a lack of understanding of the legal reality of the lands of Judea and Samaria."

In their letter, the rabbis explain that many lands in Judea and Samaria defined as "private lands" were never purchased by any owners and their origin is based on a declarative and unauthorized registration by the Jordanian authorities that controlled the area before the Six-Day War. The letter is signed by, among others, Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Rabbi David Chai HaCohen, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, and Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, alongside several other rabbis.

The rabbis explained: "The so-called 'owners' do not know at all that the land is registered in their name"

In the opening of their letter, the rabbis wrote: "Dear elected officials, we address you with a demand to act with all your might against the demolitions of settlement points throughout Judea and Samaria. There are those who claim that certain settlement points are situated on 'private Arab lands,' and therefore they are deemed for evacuation. This claim is misleading the public, which stems from a misunderstanding of the legal reality of the lands of Judea and Samaria."

The rabbis added and explained: "Shortly before the liberation of Judea and Samaria, King Hussein of Jordan arbitrarily and without any authority distributed wide areas of Judea and Samaria to various clans. This act has never been realized; the fields were not cultivated, and in most cases, these are rocky lands whose so-called 'owners' are entirely unaware that the lands are registered under their names. There is no reason for the State of Israel to honor Hussein's arbitrary allocation, thus enabling Arab takeover of very large portions of Judea and Samaria."

The full letter of the rabbis

"Oppose construction on legally acquired private land"

The rabbis emphasized: "It is important for us to clarify that as rabbis, we oppose building on privately owned lands of non-Jews that were acquired legally, and before our eyes stand the words of our sages, that 'stealing from a non-Jew is forbidden.' However, we note that 'private' lands as designated by Hussein's distribution are not private at all in essence, and any use of the term 'private lands' is solely a political tool wielded by opponents of the settlement enterprise."

Among the signatories, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu (Photo: The Rabbi's Office)

The line of rabbis concluded: "Therefore, it is incumbent upon you, elected representatives, to stand on the right side of the pioneering settlers, the public emissaries of the entire people of Israel, who are commanded to inherit the land and not abandon it to the hands of others or to desolation, in the words of the Ramban in his Sefer HaMitzvot. Healing for weaknesses does not lie in accepting the basic terms of the enemy, but rather, on the contrary – in standing tall and strengthening our hold across all corners of our land."

It should be noted that this letter adds to the significant criticism that has been heard among the settlers towards the leader of Religious Zionism, Bezalel Smotrich. The residents of the settlements in Judea and Samaria strongly criticized the minister. Apart from being the Minister of Finance, he is also a minister in the Ministry of Defense, and they argue that the evacuation of the settlements must go through his approval. Following individuals in the vicinity of Bezalel Smotrich clarifying that it was not possible to cancel the execution of the evacuation in the settlement in Binyamin, and that there was an attempt to negotiate with the residents and relocate them elsewhere, the settlement residents attacked Smotrich and claimed that he was lying.

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