JERUSALEM (JTA) – A prominent Zionist rabbi says it is forbidden to visit Nazi death camps.
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, head of the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva in Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter, urged Israeli schools to cancel their annual trips to the camps, saying they are forbidden since there is a halachic ban on leaving Israel and because they "provide livelihood to murderers." Aviner made the statement in a religious journal in answer to a reader’s question.
In an interview with Ynet following the journal’s publication, he said, "I’m not busy holding a grudge against the Poles, but we shouldn’t provide livelihood to people who allowed death camps to be built on their land and who are now making a profit out of it."
Leaving Israel is only permitted for the sake of a mitzvah, Aviner told Ynet in an interview published Tuesday, adding that many great rabbis have never visited the death camps in Poland. He said that educators have told him the educational value of the trips lasts about three weeks, Ynet reported.