Rabbis urge Israelis to revolt against government
Prominent religious leaders warn Olmert ‘destroying Jewish state’
Posted: December 6, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Aaron Klein
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com
JERUSALEM – A group of prominent rabbinic leaders in Israel and abroad yesterday issued a call for Israeli citizens to launch a democratic uprising to bring down the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. “Out of love for each and every Jew, we call on the people of Israel and its leaders to begin a democratic uprising to immediately replace this government, which constitutes an ominous threat to the nation of Israel,” the Rabbinical Congress for Peace, a coalition of over 1,200 rabbinic leaders and pulpit rabbis, said in a statement.
Among the Rabbinical Congress members who signed the statement were Mordechai Eliyahu and Abraham Shapira – both of whom served as chief rabbis for the state of Israel – and Rabbi Meir Mazuz, head of the Tunisian Jewish community in Israel and one of the country’s most well-respected rabbis.
The rabbis were responding to a national address last week commemorating the death of Israel’s founder and first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, in which Olmert stated he is willing to give up most of the West Bank in exchange for “real peace.”
During the speech, Olmert called for immediate negotiations with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Olmert said he would release “many, many” Palestinian prisoners as part of a deal.
“Ben-Gurion extended a hand in peace to Arab states the year Israel was born. The hand then returned empty, but, like then, the hand remains extended. I extend my hand in peace to our Palestinian neighbors in the hope that it won’t return empty,” Olmert said.
Olmert reiterated earlier pledges issues by his office of an Israeli West Bank withdrawal “to establish an independent Palestinian state, with territorial contiguity in the West Bank, a state that will enjoy full sovereignty and will have defined borders.”
The West Bank borders Israel’s major population centers and is within rocket firing range of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Israel’s international airport.
Since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip last summer, rockets have been regularly fired into nearby Jewish communities, killing Israeli civilians and prompting widespread panic. In Sderot, an Israeli city about three miles from the Gaza border, nearly 50 percent of children have been staying home from school for fear of rocket attacks, according to recent reports.
The Rabbinical Congress for Peace labeled Olmert’s national address a “crime.”
“In his deplorable speech, Olmert in essence announced a ‘liquidation sale’ and collective suicide of the people in Israel including the release of thousands of the most dangerous terrorists from Israeli jails. Israeli citizens must launch a democratic uprising and protest to bring down the government immediately,” the rabbis said in a statement.
Continued the statement: “Olmert adheres to the advice of false left-wing ‘prophets’ instead of adhering to the true prophets as expressed in the Jewish Code of Law that any territorial concession to the enemy will only lead to bloodshed. It will not contribute to calm nor will it promote peace.”
Olmert last week agreed to a cease-fire with the major Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip. The truce called for a halt of smuggling activity by Palestinians and a cessation of rocket attacks launched by militants in Gaza aiming at nearby Jewish communities in exchange for Israel withdrawing its ground troops from the Strip and halting military activity in the territory.
In accordance with orders from Olmert, the IDF removed its troops from Gaza, but at least 23 rockets have been fired from the Strip since the cease fire was imposed.
WND reported yesterday the IDF has been instructed by the government here not to open fire or take any action against militants who are discovered launching rockets into the Jewish state, according to senior military officials.
The officials said Olmert’s security cabinet changed the IDF’s rules of engagement after the cease-fire went into effect. Now, if Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are caught launching rockets at Jewish cities, the Israeli military is forbidden to respond, the military officials said.
Previously, the IDF used artillery units and aerial strikes against militants discovered in the process of launching rockets.
IDF sources told WND the Israeli army several times the past few days identified militants about to launch rockets into Israel, but due to changed rules of engagement in response to the cease-fire, IDF forces were prohibited from taking out the rocket crews. For example, hours after the cease-fire was imposed, IDF units spotted seven Palestinians in Gaza setting up rocket launchers. Three rockets were then fired into Israel.
“There is nothing we can do about the rocket attacks. It’s only a matter of time before an Israeli is killed,” said an IDF official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media.
Olmert yesterday told the Knesset his government would react with restraint to continuing Qassam attacks, saying Israel was hoping to give the cease-fire a chance to develop into further steps toward what he called a “peace process.”
“We will fully explore every possibility that can lead to momentum to begin a diplomatic process, and so we are now giving the truce a chance,” Olmert told the Knesset parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Also yesterday, Israeli intelligence officials told the Knesset Palestinians in Gaza have continued to smuggle weapons into the territory from neighboring Egypt.
Last week, IDF chief of staff Dan Halutz told Israel’s Knesset that Olmert did not fully consult with the Israeli army before agreeing to the cease-fire with Palestinian militants.
Terrorists: Cease-fire means chance to reload
In a series of WND exclusive interviews conducted immediately after last week’s cease-fire was finalized, leaders of the four largest Palestinian terror groups in Gaza said the new truce will be used to smuggle weapons into Gaza; reinforce and train “fighter units”; and produce rockets for a future confrontation with the Jewish state.
“The cease-fire offers a period of calm for our fighters to recover and prepare for our final goal of evacuating Palestine,” said Abu Abir, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, a Hamas-allied terror organization in the Gaza Strip responsible for many of the recent rocket attacks against Israeli communities.
“We will keep fighting [Israel], but for the moment we will postpone certain parts of the military struggle,” said Abu Abir. “We will reinforce very quickly and rush what we are doing to prepare [for attacks against Israel] in Gaza and in the West Bank.”
Abu Abdullah, a senior leader of Hamas’ so-called “military wing,” told WND Hamas agreed to the cease-fire “because we need a period of calm to recuperate. This lull in fighting will not bring us to speak about peace.”
Abu Abdullah is considered one of the most important operational members of Hamas’ Izzedine al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades, Hamas’ declared military wing.
He pointed to Hamas’ doctrine, which calls for the destruction of Israel and which refuses to recognize the Jewish state.
“The political leadership (of Hamas) will never compromise on these values,” the terror leader said.
Abu Abdullah said Hamas has its own political reasons to respect the truce.
“We wish to show Islam as a ruling party is capable of leading the Palestinian people. Since Hamas was elected, we have been through only chaotic periods. We want a period of calm to prove we are not only a revolutionary movement but to show the Palestinian people our rule is without the corruption of (the rival) Fatah (party).”
But Abu Abdullah said the cease-fire would ultimately end in violence.
“All the Palestinian people and all the Muslims will launch a direct confrontation with Israel. This may come soon or it may take some time,” Abu Abdullah said.
Abu Luay, a leader of Islamic Jihad in Gaza, told WND Israel’s call for a cease-fire “proves our rocket attacks work. The Zionists know there is now remedy for our rockets.”
The Islamic Jihad leader said Palestinian rocket attacks against Israel would resume “at a time of our choosing.”
Abu Ahmed, the leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip, told WND his terror group would respect the cease-fire.
The Brigades, responsible for scores of suicide bombings, shootings and rocket attacks, is the declared military wing of Abbas’ Fatah party.
“We will respect the cease-fire as the president (Abbas) has ordered us to do,” said Abu Ahmed. “We keep our right to respond to any Israeli aggression. Our group does not give up any of its ideals, which is a withdrawal of the Israelis.”