Two prominent Religious Zionism rabbis have strongly condemned the "price tag" activities committed by extreme right-wing activists, and have even called on settlers – for the first time – to turn in the criminals to the army.
The two are the heads of the Har Etzion Yeshiva and are among the settler public's moderate religious leaders: Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, 78, who is considered a genius on halachic issues, and Rabbi Yaaqov Medan, 61, considered the yeshiva's most rightist leader.
a rare manifesto distributed in Judea and Samaria on Monday, the rabbis are calling on the area's residents to provide the communities' security coordinators and the IDF
with any information which could prevent "price tag" activities, and even turn in the criminals to the army.
Military vehicle vandalized (Photo courtesy of Channel 10)
"These guys have crossed every red line possible," Rabbi Medan said Sunday, referring to the violent "price tag" act against an IDF base after the evacuation of homes in the outpost of Migron, which was considered a red line among most Religious Zionism members, who view military service as a superior value.
"We must make sure that this stops immediately," he added.
Following the recent escalation in "price tag" activities, Rabbi Medan decided to denounce their executors directly. He worded the manifesto and had Rabbi Lichtenstein sign it.
"We condemn the acts referred to as 'price tag' against the IDF, against mosques and against innocent Arabs," they write in the document obtained by Yedioth Ahronoth.
"These acts are completely wrong, both morally and nationally, and put the entire settlement enterprise in danger. We support the IDF in its activities against the criminal lawlessness undermining the foundation of our existence here."
The rabbis then turn to the settlers, in a call which may spark an internal row: "We call on every person, especially the residents of Judea and Samaria, to do all they can to prevent such actions and deliver any information which could thwart 'price tag' activities to the councils' security officers."
Talking to Yedioth Ahronoth on Sunday, Rabbi Medan clarified his intentions. "I have no doubt that the security officers will know who to deliver this information to in the army. We have been working together with the IDF since the start of the settlement enterprise, and this partnership will not be violated by such actions."
Asked if he believed other rabbis would join the call, he responded: "I don't think this is just a matter of rabbis. Anyone who cares about ethics and about the Judea and Samaria settlement should join in."
Rabbi Medan is considered a rightist, particularly in the milieu of the relatively moderate Har Etzion Yeshiva. When the Oslo Accords were signed he went on a hunger strike, and recently slammed the "leftist secular elite".
Most settler leaders condemned the "price tag" activities in recent week and referred to them as "criminal", especially after the damage caused to an IDF base, but this is the first time rabbis are calling for real action against the perpetrators.
Outpost activist Meir Bartler said in response Sunday, "It's unfortunate that time and again, certain leaders and rabbis choose to believe the Left's smear campaigns and hurt the pioneers building this land. Just to make it clear, IDF soldiers are not the enemy – and Rabbi Medan should understand that as well."