Protest in Hashmonaim
Rabbi Chaim Druckman. 'Misleading onlookers'
Photo: Gil Yohanan
'Disobedience posters exploitation of Bnei Akiva'
Rabbi Chaim Druckman, considered spiritual authority of religious youth movement, calls posters waved by teens in favor of military insubordination at official ceremony 'bad taste.' On other hand, former Bnei Akiva Secretary-General Amnon Shapira says, 'It would be problematic if they didn’t protest'
Rabbi Chaim Druckman, considered Bnei Akiva's spiritual authority, came out in a conversation with Ynet against what he called the "political exploitation of Bnei Akiva" and condemned Saturday's anti-settlement evacuation banner waving in the town of Hashmonaim
In doing so, he joined Bnei Akiva Secretary-General Rabbi Benny Nechtailer who implicitly criticized Sunday the Bnei Akiva teens who waved the banners, saying that the movement prefers to affect change through "pleasant means and advocacy."
Teens belonging to the Bnei Akiva youth movement joined soldiers protesting the evacuation of Jews from illegal settlements Saturday by holding a sign saying, "Netzach tribe does not evacuate Homesh" at a movement convention in Hashmonaim.
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According to Druckman, no signs should be waved at official Bnei Akiva ceremonies with messages that have not been agreed upon by the movement and that were not authorized by the event organizers. "This is an exploitation of a movement ceremony for unrelated issues," said the rabbi, "and it doesn't at all matter what was written there."
Druckman added that the banner waving was "in bad taste" because it misleads onlookers into believing that the message on the signs represents the official position of the movement's leadership.
However, Rabbi Druckman emphasized that the Bnei Akiva teens that are about to enlist have are allowed and encouraged to express their opinions on such controversial subjects, saying that the political involvement it exemplifies should be welcomed.
"As long as it is not against the people of Israel, a citizen in a democratic country can protest against whatever he wishes without me establishing whether he is correct or mistaken," he said. "When this is perpetrated in the military by soldiers in uniform, this is forbidden, but in this instance, it is a very positive thing. It does not, however, need to take place at an official event of Bnei Akiva or any other organization, but to stand on the side of a street with a sign is legitimate and welcomed."
Why is Shalit protest okay, Homesh not?
Contrary to the two rabbis, former Bnei Akiva Secretary-General Dr. Amnon Shapira does not view expressing personal political opinions at a movement ceremony in poor taste. He said of the banner waving, "It would have been problematic had they not done so."
In a conversation with Ynet, Shapira explained, "If the Scouts are allowed to protest and take action for the release of Gilad Shalit, for whom, according to reports, a thousand murderers who will carry out dozens of attacks, and, Heaven forbid, kill dozens of Jews will be released, why is it forbidden to protest against the evacuation of Homesh?"
Shapira said that though the teens' protest does not represent an official position of the movement, they are allowed to express their opinions. "Bnei Akiva education them to dedicate their souls to Israel and has instilled in them positive values. If they see this as a value, it is important that they say so. We do not tell them what to protest about."
"Yossi Sarid and Amos Oz said that if there were an order to expel villages of Arabs, they would do everything in order to thwart it from being carried out. The media applauded them. After the disengagement, when one Supreme Court justice said that it is illegal and another said it is a crime against the Jewish people and humanity – is it not the moral obligation of every person to block with his very own body the evacuation of Jewish towns?" Shapira asserted.