Goren Advises Soldiers to Refuse Army Orders to Uproot Settlements

Shlomo Goren, a former Israeli chief rabbi and chief military chaplain, has advised Israeli soldiers to refuse to obey any orders to participate in military operations to evacuate Jewish settlements from the administered areas.

Goren’s suggestion came in a pamphlet he wrote on behalf of the Rabbinical Committee of Jewish Settlements in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

He outlined his thoughts in an Israel Radio interview on Sunday and was immediately denounced by many government leaders.

Deputy Defense Minister Mordechai Gur said Goren’s view is “totally unacceptable.”

“The spiritual world view of a single person should not be allowed to determine positions in a democratic society. The majority must prevail,” said Gur, who was in command of the Jerusalem area in the Six-Day War in 1967 when the Israel Defense Force captured the Old City.

Goren, then the IDF’s chief chaplain, had raced to the Western Wall to blow the shofar, even before the shooting stopped.

In the pamphlet and in his radio interview, Goren said the government had no authority to rule on the status of the settlements as it depends for its majority on the votes of Arab Knesset members.

Goren cited medieval rabbinical authorities as the basis for his religious injunction.

In any conflict between civil and religious law, Goren said, the religious takes precedence over the secular law.

Asked whether he was inciting rebellion, Goren said: “For us, our first call is to obey the laws of Moses. Any other orders which contradict the Law of Moses — the Law of the Bible — this is a rebellion against the Law of Moses, against the Torah and the laws of our religion.

“For us there is not any kind of rebellion if it is based on obeying the Laws of Moses.”

Other rabbis and spokesmen for the opposition Likud party have so far remained silent on Goren’s remarks.

But one rabbi said privately that the number of rabbis in Israel who value territory over human lives is marginal.

A spokesman for the Chief Rabbi’s Office said only that “no situation should reach the point of civil war.”

Ministers Uzi Bar-Am and Binyamin Ben-Eliezer also accused Goren of fomenting rebellion by urging soldiers to refuse to obey orders.

A Tel Aviv lawyer, Aharon Shlanger, appealed to the police to investigate Goren’s breach of the law by instructing soldiers to revolt against formal orders.

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