Chief military rabbi: Gush Katif sacrificed in vain?
In reflections before Yom Kippur, outgoing chief military rabbi, Rabbi Yisrael Weiss, who will go down in history as rabbi who oversaw disengagement, wonders if whole process was worthwhile, if it will bring peace. Announcement circulated in synagogues asks Weiss to ask forgiveness for his involvement in disengagement
Outgoing chief military rabbi, Brigadier General Yisrael Weiss, said Wednesday in a goodbye party in honor of him leaving his post, "The good of our future existence requires the eternal oath of never again – never again to a human disengagement, never again to human realignment. And forever yes to public and national human connections – of all kinds and as much as possible."
More than 200 people came to the rabbi's farewell party, among them Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, IDF generals, ministers and members of Knesset, such as opposition chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, and Minister of Industry, Trade, and Labor Eliyahu Yishai. Chief Military Rabbi Weiss is most identified with the disengagement plan.
Rabbi Weiss gave a speech after the chief of staff left.
Rabbi Weiss continued to say, "I have a large doubt in my heart whether, in the face of the difficult, painful, and bloody reality we experience every day, the rabbis would give their permission (for the disengagement). When I flip through the photo album of the synagogues, study houses, educational facilities, and the yeshivas that were and are no more, my heart bleeds, my eyes open wide, and I don't find rest for my feet. I can't stop asking myself – were these sacrificed in vain? Will peace be built on the current destruction?"
Scorn was heaped on Rabbi Weiss by the anti-disengagement crowd, including some IDF soldiers, for continuing his post as the chief military rabbi despite the fact that the disengagement plan would ultimately be carried out.
'Rabbi responsible for desecrating holy graves'
Already in the preparation stages of the disengagement, right-wing activists, especially those whose loved ones were buried in Gush Katif, demonstrated outside his house. Rabbi Weiss was responsible for exhuming the graves and relocating them within the Green Line.
During the same time period, former chief military rabbi, Rabbi Abraham Shapira, sent a letter to Rabbi Weiss calling him to hand in his uniform and not to take part in the disengagement plan. A year after the disengagement, the right refuses to forgive Weiss for his part in the uprooting.
In preparation for Rosh Hashana, an announcement was circulated in synagogues calling Rabbi Weiss "to ask forgiveness and pardon from the dead and their families evacuated from Gush Katif in preparation for the Days of Awe."
Behind the letter is the organization SOS-Israel. The organization claims that Rabbi Weiss was responsible for desecrating the holy graves and destroying synagogues in Gush Katif.
Roee Mendel contributed to this report