The rabbis gathered for an emergency meeting to discuss the matter, then marched in front of Justice Minister Yaakov Ne'eman's home, demanding that he oppose the renewal of the construction freeze.
"Minister Ne'eman really is loyal... but he is under tremendous pressure to support the freeze," said Avi Smotrich, the town rabbi of the Beit Yatir settlement in the West Bank. "We are here to remind him of his loyalty. Jews of all generations have agreed to sacrifice their lives to fulfill the Torah, so what is this pressure in comparison?"
Rabbi Elyakim Levanon of the Elon Moreh settlement in Samaria slammed Netanyahu and called fellow rabbis in leadership positions to shift their support to Lieberman. "We are dealing with a fraud," he said. "A Knesset member who lies pays with his seat, but a prime minister can lie to the entire nation.
"There is a party head that definitely has his eye on leadership, and when he will lead the nation he will continue to speak the truth," he said without mentioning Lieberman by name. "You know who I mean." Elaykim noted that a Lieberman administration will cause a different set of problems, but expressed his support nonetheless.
'Don't hide behind abstention vote'Rabbi Yehoshua Shapira, who heads the Ramat Gan Yeshiva likened continuing the moratorium to "drinking vinegar." According to him, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak "drink vinegar" and tell themselves it is the last time, but soon find themselves drinking it again.
He turned to Shas members and said that the decision is in their hands. "Everything depends on you," he said. "Don't hide behind 'abstention' voting, as occurred in Oslo. My brothers, don't be afraid."
On Monday, Rabbi Dov Lior of the Kiryat Arba settlement in Judea published a letter in which he calls Prime Minister Netanyahu to resist the pressure from the US to resume the moratorium. "You have the honor of representing our people during one of the hardest periods in the process of our salvation," he wrote. "This is why you must stand strong against all the enemies threatening to harm us. I have no doubt that you will show decisiveness, the evil of the gentiles will diminish, and Hashem the God of Israel will help you get out of this mess."
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