"We demand that the Chief Military Rabbi, Brigadier General Yisrael Weiss, ask forgiveness and pardon from the dead and the families of the dead, and all those evacuated from Gush Katif ahead of the Day of Atonement," members of SOS-Israel told Ynet on Thursday.
At the start of the next month, the rabbi will complete his six year term, and he will be replaced by Brigadier General Avi Rontzki. SOS-Israel launched an initiative before Weiss retires, entitled: 'The seeking of forgiveness and pardon from the dead evacuated from Gush Katif and their families.'
Demanding an apology
A source in the campaign explained the motivation behind the call. "In the disengagement plan, the chief military rabbinate, headed by Rabbi Weiss, were responsible for the desecration of holy graves in Gush Katif and the destruction of synagogues. Therefore we are demanding that he apologize for the pictures that appeared in the press during the removal of the graves," he said.
The message, distributed over the New Year to synagogues, read: "during this period of terrible days, Rabbi Weiss is resigning from his post. The rabbi will be remembered in the history of the Israeli people as 'chief military expulsion rabbi,' he cooperated with… the disengagement and helped uproot and desecrate dozens of holy graves in Gush Katif. He further sinned when he carried out the uprooting itself through desecration of the holy. The Israeli people will not forget the shocking pictures in which members of the military rabbinate and the chief rabbi are seen desecrating the honor of the head, in a way arousing contempt and revulsion."
The letter added that Rabbi Weiss took part in the disengagement plan despite the advice of rabbis: "With these acts Rabbi Weiss rebelled against the teachings of his teacher and rabbi, the revered elder Rabbi Avraham Shapira, who instructed him not to take part in the expulsion and the desecration of the dead. The acts of the chief military rabbi form a crime against Israel, and a blow to the holy values of Judaism. He and his friends were the operational arm of the wicked government that caused disaster, and the second Lebanon war."