The Torah on "Unilateral Disengagement" (Part 2)

“No land shall be sold permanently”

The Torah also warns us, “No land shall be sold
permanently” (Leviticus 25:23), and the Ramban, basing himself upon
the teachings of the sages, learns from here that it is forbidden to
sell to a gentile any land which belongs to a Jew. The reason that
this is forbidden is that such an act results in the land’s not
returning to its original Jewish owner in the Jubilee year (Ramban,
Mitzvoth Lo Ta’aseh 227). It follows that it is forbidden for the
state of Israel to give portions of our ancestral inheritance to non-
Jews.

No ruler or government in the word has the right to displace even a
single Jew from his home in the land of Israel. The Almighty God has
given this land to the nation of Israel and every Jew has a portion in
it. No government in the world wields the authority to steal the lot
of even a single Jew, uprooting him from a home which he bought or
built in accordance with the law. It follows that any agreement which
calls for the eviction of Jews from their homes is prohibited.

Incidentally, it is worth mentioning that according to the Ran (see
Nedarim 28a) the rule “Dina D’Malkhuta Dina” (Lit., “the law of the
kingdom is the law”; a Halakhic principle which says that Jews must
obey the laws of the state in which they live) applies in the lands of
the exile alone. The reason for this is that in these countries the
land is the property of the kingdom, and one is hence obligated to
abide by the laws and ordinances of the country in which he resides.
But, says the Ran, in the land of Israel, which belongs to the entire
nation of Israel, there is no halakhically-based obligation to comply
with the laws of the government. Only under a Jewish state in the land
of Israel, because it has the status of a “King of Israel,” is there a
requirement to conform to the laws.

Most authorities, however, hold that “Dina D’Malkhuta Dina” applies
even in the land of Israel, for public consensus is what gives the
government its authority to rule and promulgate laws. This is the
opinion of both Rambam and Shulchan Arukh. Nevertheless, all agree
with the basic assertion of the Ran, that the land of Israel belongs
to the entire nation of Israel, and, hence, that no government
possesses the authority to uproot Jews from their ancestral
inheritance.

Life-Threatening Danger

According to the sages of the Talmud (Eruvin 45a) and the eventual
ruling of the Shulchan Arukh (Orach Chaim 329:6), any concession to an
enemy, even a slight one, constitutes an endangerment to life. The
sages therefore taught that in a situation where enemies attempt to
steal even “straw and stubble from a boarder settlement,” Jews must go
out and attack them. The reason for this course of action is that if
adversaries are allowed to get away with straw and stubble, our power
of deterrence will be weakened, and, in the end, neighboring peoples
will undertake to capture settlements and murder people. And even if
they come to steal on the Sabbath, the life-threatening danger
involved makes it necessary to desecrate the Sabbath and carry out an
armed response.
If, then, for mere straw and stubble the sages forbade making
concessions because of the eventual life-threatening danger involved,
it goes without saying that handing over entire settlements is out of
the question. Such behavior will greatly kindle the motivation of the
terrorists to murder. Indeed, the aftermath of the infamous Oslo
accords have unfortunately already proven the correctness of the logic
which underlies this ruling. The Oslo navigators promised peace for a
hundred years, and instead caused us more than a thousand deaths and
intensified worldwide anti-Semitism.

Desecration of God’s Name

Because the cession of territory which our enemies demand is backed by
strong international pressure, submitting to these forces and
relinquishing the land which God Himself bequeathed our ancestors and
ourselves will render us guilty of desecrating God’s name. We are
therefore enjoined to oppose all such anti-religious coercion.

Levels of Sanctification and Desecration

Any commandment which is carried out publicly has the effect of
sanctifying God’s Name. Such an act hence possesses great value, for
the entire purpose of creation is to reveal God’s majesty in this
world. On the other hand, transgressions carried out in public
constitute a desecration of God’s name and their severity is therefore
much greater than those carried out in private. There exist varying
degrees of sanctification and desecration of God’s name. The greater
publicity an act receives the greater the amount of sanctification or
desecration God’s Name receives.
The most famous Torah commandment in the world is the commandment to
settle the land of Israel. The nations have only a vague concept about
what is implied by kosher food or Sabbath observation, but they all
know that the Almighty has promised the land of Israel to the Jewish
people. It is written numerous time in the Bible, and the Bible is the
most important and popular book in the world. The entire world knows
that God promised the land of Israel to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and
their offspring. All are aware that God, through His prophets, has
declared that the Jews will eventually return to their land.
Therefore, when, thanks to God’s abundant kindness, the state of
Israel was established, God’s Name was sanctified greatly in the eyes
of the nations, for the words of the Prophets were fulfilled. When,
again, we merited liberating Jerusalem, as well as Judea, Samaria, and
Gaza, God’s name was once again sanctified; it was as if the entire
world heard the blast of the “shofar” (ram’s horn).
There could be almost no greater desecration of God’s Name than our
now relinquishing portions of our sacred homeland. All of the news
programs would focus in on it. The entire world would be made aware
that God’s children agreed to give away portions of the holy soil
which God Himself had given them as an eternal possession. Therefore
we must exert ourselves to the utmost so that the words of the
prophets be fulfilled and this terrible desecration of God’s Name be
prevented.

May It Be God’s Will

May God bless all of the dedicated activists working to protect the
settlements in Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights, and may it be
God’s will that we all merit seeing the fulfillment of the words of
the Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 65:18-24): “Be glad and rejoice forever in
that which I create, for, behold, I create for Jerusalem a rejoicing
and for her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem and joy in
My people and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor
the voice of crying…and they shall build houses and inhabit them;
and they shall plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. They shall
not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat:
for as the days of a tree shall the days of My people be, and the
chosen ones shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not
labor in vain, nor bring forth for confusion, for they are the seed of
the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. And it shall
come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are
yet speaking, I will hear.”

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