Volume 21 Number 24
                       Produced: Thu Aug 24  0:46:31 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Halachic Legitimacy of Israel Government Decisions
         [David Guberman]
Israeli politics
         [Eli Turkel]
Rav Amital's Psak
         [Kenneth Posy]
Submission concerning the ability to agitate.....
         [Joshua J. Brickel]


From: <dguberman@...> (David Guberman)
Date: Tue, 22 Aug 1995 17:49:07 GMT
Subject: Re: Halachic Legitimacy of Israel Government Decisions

     R. Karlinsky presents his formulation of (what he calls) "the two
major [halachic] issues that need to be examined in the present
situation."  In my view, however, there is an essential preliminary
question: According to halacha, who decides these questions (and by what
criteria)?  Although I am not competent to argue the point, I again
refer readers to the contention of Dr.  Gershon Mamluk, apparently
endorsed by R. Emanuel Rackman, that the halacha to which most
participants in this discussion have been referring is not now in
operation, and that these questions are for military experts (and
possibly politicians).  (A view also attributed by them to Rabbis
Soloveitchik and Feinstein.)

     In all events, since how a question is posed importantly affects
how it is answered, I respectfully offer some comments on R. Karlinsky's

> 1) the proactive handing over to non-Jews of parts of Eretz
> Yisrael that had been in the hands of Jews;

     This is too spare.  Among other things, the question should include
reference to the circumstances under which the territory came to be "in
the hands of Jews" (from the point of view of the State of Israel, a
defensive war; from the point of view of individual Jewish settlers,
arguably subject to the terms under which the State has held the
territory), the circumstances under which the territory has been held
(as "administered territories" without prejudice to their ultimate
disposition), the fact that the territory is inhabited by non-Jews, and
the reasons adduced to support the "handing over" (see question 2

> 2) whether the contemplated saving of Jewish lives at some
> future time, the improvement of Israel's image in the eyes of
> the world, and the tangible economic benefits of the peace
> process justify the present acknowledged tangible danger to
> Jewish lives that has been created.

     This formulation is problematic.  For example, (1) it does not
fairly state the reasons adduced by those who support a peace settlement
with the Palestinians based upon territorial compromise; (2) it assumes
both (a) that it is the "the peace process" that has created "the
present . . . danger to Jewish lives" and (b) that, absent the peace
process, there would be no danger, or a lesser danger (in other words,
it assumes that alternatives to the peace process are risk-free); and
(3) it ignores such issues as whether there is a material difference
between (a) the threat to Israels's existence (hence to Jewish lives on
a collective basis) that supporters of the peace process would argue a
peace settlement is intended to address and (b) the individiual threat
to Jewish lives, but not Israel's existence, posed by terrorism.

     Since I do not want to discuss the merits of these issues in this
forum, I think that I should stop here.  Indeed, I think that further
discussion of how questions properly might be formulated should be held
in abeyance at least until a satisfactorily argued answer is given to
the antecedent questions of (1) who should decide and (2) according to
what criteria?  After all, were the answer to the first question to be
military experts (and, possibly, politicians), that would seem to
preclude discussion here of the issues themselves.

David A. Guberman                       <dag@...>


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Aug 1995 11:46:53 -0400
Subject: Israeli politics

    Rabbi Shaya Karlinsky gives an excellent overview of the latest
Israeli elections. I have however one strong objection. If the situation
is as bad as he presents why don't the religious parties combine to form
one bloc? How come three different leftist parties can put aside their
differences to form Meretz while two haredi parties Augudah and Degel
haTorah are still arguing whether to run on sepaarte lists in the next
election. David Levy has recently started a new right wing party.
Instead of (or in addition to) issuing piskei dinim I would prefer that
contemporary Halachic leaders work together to prevent the situation
that R. Karlinsky describes from happening. The fact that political life
in Israel goes on as usual indicates to me that the issues that are
embroiling mail.jewish are not of high priority for many religious
politicians and rabbinic leaders.

    As to R. Karlinsky's call to discuss the situation on the basis of
giving over land versus contemplated saving of Jewish lives at some
future time, the improvement of Israel's image in the eyes of the world
etc.  I completely agree with him and hope that it will lead to a
lowering of tempers.

   In response to both R. Karlinsky and Carl Sherer I wish to reiterate
that the presently Israeli system makes no pretense to be a
quasi-halachik system.  It is well known that Ben Gurion objected to any
mention of G-d in Israel's declaration of independence. IMHO the rulings
of the knesset are no different, according to halachah, then that of the
British parliament.  I don't see why the presence of Arab knesset
members makes any difference.  The main halachic basis of the Israeli
law is on "dina de-malchusa" which applies to the czarist government and
to the Israeli knesset. I doubt anyone would claim that knesset laws
that do violate halachah have any more of a basis that any other
government's laws. Though the Ran seems to limit dina demalchusa in
Israel I feel that it is a minority opinion and also that he has been
very misunderstood.

    IMHO if the abandoning of bases is against halachah then NO rabbi
would disagree with the psak of the 9 rabbis. The disagreements are
whether they are against halachah or not, based on the question as
raised by R. Karlinsky.



From: Kenneth Posy <kpposy@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Aug 1995 13:24:11 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Rav Amital's Psak

Mr. Sherer writes:
>There's a preliminary question that I still think has to be answered 
>here.  Is there a halachic basis for a requirement to follow orders 
>in the army and if so what is it? If anyone has one, I'd like to hear
>it.  If there is no specific halachic source for following orders,
>then it seems to me that it could be the case that one must only follow
>orders when there is pikuach nefesh (i.e. in battle zones, etc. by the
>definitions I've argued for in earlier posts).

IMHO, You are absolutely correct. I do not have the ability to
adequately address this question. Although, disagreeing with a statement
you made previously, my impression was that it was basically unanimous
among poskim that one is required to obey mundane orders. This is the
default position. If you choose to disobey, that disobedience must be
justifiable in court.

> Beyond that, even if there is a halachic requirement that a soldier
> in an army follow orders, if we assume that giving up land in Israel
> is forbidden by the Halacha, wouldn't carrying out an order be "mesayeah
> l'ovrei aveira" (helping another to sin) which is generally prohibited?

This is exactly the issue that Rav Amital addresses in his
psak. Assuming that the government is doing an issur, is there a
prohibition to assist it in that issur. He concludes that there is not.

> And if in fact it is prohibited to help another to sin, under the Rambam
> in Hilchos Mlochim Perek 3 cited a couple of weeks ago, one doesn't even 
> have to listen to the King if he says to do something against the Halacha?

     When the Rambam says you do not have to obey the king, it is when
he tells you to do something that is assur for you. (eat treif) But if
he tells you to do something that is assur for him (purchase for him too
many horses) you have not done anything wrong, except for possibly
"l'phnei eveir" and Rav Amital argues not even that.
	There is an interesting question: Would the king/government be
liable, if the action was carried out by someone else? This is the
classic question of sliach l'dvar aveira as dealt with on Bava Metzia
10b. Based on Tos BK 77a, I would say that they would be.

>Yes you understood my argument correctly.  Even according to your
>(or Rav Amital shlita's) reasoning, I think there is a distinction 
>that could be drawn between a soldier getting on a bus and leaving
>as opposed to one dismantling the whole base.
I do not understand. Why?

>By the way, how does the issur become an issur on the government?
>(I realize that in many respects this is the same question as the
>question about where the halachic requirement to follow orders comes
>from).  And who *specifically* is responsible for it? After all the
>government is lots of people, not one person.  Where would you draw
>the line if you assume that there is an issur on the "government"?
     I agree that this has a fundimentally similar basis as the first
issue, but IMHO, it is possible to have issur chal on a collective body
and on no particular individual. The mitzva to build a beis hamikdash is
not on me, it is on "clal yisroel" (and we should be zocheh to fulfill


From: Joshua J. Brickel <brickel@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Aug 95 09:52:13 EDT
Subject: Submission concerning the ability to agitate.....

     I have found the following thread to be very disturbing...

 >     Similarly, I am bothered by non-Israelis who are very involved in   
 > the issue of "peace" for land and abandoning bases etc. Whatever, the   
 > outcome of this period of history those living in Israel will - G-d
 > forbid - have to fight the next war, have missiles attack their homes or 
 > hopefully reap any benefits. I am not interested in someone from outside 
 > of Israel telling me what to do, on either side of the issue, when my
 > sons and not his will be the future soldiers....  If Rafael wants to do 
 > something about all of this I suggest he make aliyah and live in Yesha  
 > instead of complaining.  I also suggest that anyone discussing this 
 > issue list his place of residence as part of any discussion. 

This is a very distrubing piece because it seems to be to be of very
questionable moral quality.  Let me build for you a question...

Should the Jews in the U.S. during WWII have agitated to have Jews freed
from Europe?  Should they have done their utmost to insure their fellow
Jews survival?  According to the above post the answer would seem to be
no.  After all who are we as American Jews, not living in Europe to tell
another country how to run its affairs.  Ah, you could say that Jews
lives were in danger should action not be taken?  But I say that the
people who protest today in America do it precisely becasue they do feel
Jewish lives are in danger.

The next argument one could use would be, well, the Jews in Israel don't
want us to help, while in Europe they did!  The answer to this can be
viewed on a couple of levels.  Firstly, not all Jews in Israel would
agree with this position (please don't flood me with a bunch of EMAILS
saying yes they do, your responses only prove that a bunch of people are
willing to scream at the top of their lungs) some do want American Jews
to help.

On another level one could argue that if a goverment is doing something
that will surely hurt Jews then any Jew has a moral obligation, or at
least right, to protest such action.  Just as some Jews agitated when
the Likud was in power, because they felt holding on to the territories
was bad for the Jews, so too some feel that the present peace agreement
is bad for the Jews.

This idea that unless you have your body on the battlefield you have
nothing to say is an interesting war mentality, but does not alter the
fact that it holds no moral worth.

In the end a Jew should act in a manner in which he feels will best
benefit his fellow Jews.  The state of Israel should not be the
overiding concern, but rather his fellow Jew.  As such if he feels the
state of Israel is in oposition to what is best for his fellow Jew he
should agitate in a way which he feels will hoefully have a positive
impact on his fellow Jew.

As an example of what I would find distatefull would be if someone
protested saying America should cut off aid to Israel untill Israel did
"x."  This would hurt Jews, whether or not doing "x" would be good for
Israel or not, cutting off aid would be.  This person rather should say
and agitate that Israel should do "x" but at the same time state that
although they are greatly disturbed by what the goverment does,
nevertheless, they feel having the Jews nominally in charge is better
than seeing Israel destroyed, therefore aid should continue.  Oh, I know
if America cut off aid, Israel would not collapse overnight, but it
definently would have a negative impact.

> ... I am not interested in someone from outside                          
> of Israel telling me what to do, on either side of the issue, when my
> sons and not his will be the future soldiers....  

That the poster above is not interested in outside peoples opinions is
sad, for the more sources of knowledge and ideas the better, but that is
his loss, not mine.  I will continue to speak as I feel appropriate.

Additionally, does he mean to imply that women should not speak out, in
Israel or outside?  After all they are not combat soldiers.  Should a
elite corps officer have more moral weight then an average fighting
soldier to speak out?  Will I listen more attentively to his assertions
on the tactical advantages/diadvantages to certain courses of action?
Probably.  But that is because that is his area of expertise, and I am
not yet egotistical engough to say I know all knowledge and I have
nothing to learn from those with more experience in certain areas than
myself.  But I_Will_not_ surrender my power of decision making as to
what in the end is proper, moral, or best to do.  G-d I believe wants
people to make the best decision they can, not be led around like dumb

Joshua J. Brickel


End of Volume 21 Issue 24