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"The Chief of Staff is Transient - The Torah is Not" (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Ezra HaLevi 11/10/05)Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=92786 INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Dan is demanding that the hesder (joint Torah study and military service) yeshiva in the Shomron town of Elon Moreh be dismantled due to the head rabbi´s views on refusal.

The reason for Halutz’s demand is that the head of the yeshiva, Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, called upon his students to refuse orders to take part in the expulsion of Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria.

The Chief of Staff praised soldiers from hesder yeshivas this past week while leveling harsh criticism against those academies from which calls to refuse orders emanated. Halutz wrote to Defense Minister Sha’ul Mofaz recently requesting that the yeshiva be dissolved.

In addition to the effort to close Elon Moreh’s yeshiva, Halutz plans on working to close three other schools. There are ongoing efforts within the IDF to gather evidence against rabbis who advised their students to refuse orders.

The decision to dismantle a hesder yeshiva must be made by Defense Minister Mofaz who according to law is responsible for the arrangement that enables such academies to incorporate Torah study into the five-year military program.

Rabbi Levanon told Arutz-7’s Yigal Schok that what is on the agenda is the frontal conflict of the Torah and Jewish law with the law of the state. He said that at a time when he did his best to reduce that conflict, he is faced with the fact that a man who calls for acting in accordance with Jewish law is threatened with losing his job and position.

The yeshiva, he says, will continue to operate regardless of what happens. “I am not worried about me and I am not worried about the yeshiva. But if the army wishes it and the state feels the need to behave this way instead of protecting real freedom of expression and religious honesty – and if the other rabbis and rosh yeshivas are not bothered that when someone expresses his religious truth he is fired for it - then the yeshiva will give up its hesder status.”

Rabbi Levanon is not phased by the prospect of losing hesder status and says he would always choose expressing his honest view of the word of Torah over subjecting his Torah study academy to the whims of the political system. “We will wait for other times, because there will always be a different Chief of Staff and different decisions – all subject to change. The yeshiva and the Torah, however, are not subject to change and they will stand. The Torah truth will continue to make its own way.”

“The ramifications of closing a hesder yeshiva effect the separation of religion and state – that is the severity of the Chief of Staff’s actions,” Rabbi Levanon said. “The seriousness of such a move is that the state becomes the ruler – the arbiter. Every halachic (Jewish legal) matter that becomes forbidden to rule on publicly because it contradicts the state thus suffocates and crushes the Torah.

Rabbi Levanon added that if defenders of both Torah and democracy did not come out against such a decision – Torah personalities, yeshiva heads, the association of hesder yeshivas and chief rabbinate – they must take into account that today they are closing a yeshiva for this reason and tomorrow they will close a yeshiva for another reason. Today they are closing a hesder yeshiva and tomorrow they will close a huge rabbinical seminary because the rosh yeshiva said something that upset someone in the state’s top brass, and eventually the Torah will be pushed into a remote corner – ‘to await the coming of the messiah.’ ”

Rabbi Levanon also insisted that the chief rabbis, who were appointed to oversee the halachic side of the state, need to make their opinions heard when the matter is relevant to their field.

“The stain of the expulsion is a stain upon all of the IDF that took part but does not invalidate the IDF for the fact that at its head stands a Chief of Staff who made a unilateral decision,” said Rabbi Levanon, who calls upon his students to continue to serve in the IDF.

“The question that needs to be asked is, if the Chief of Staff wishes to punish a rosh yeshiva, why is he punishing the students of that yeshiva as well? He can refuse to accept the signature of the rosh yeshiva on the hesder arrangement so why is he blaming the students? What is the connection?”

The rabbi does not plan on keeping his views to himself in the future and is not worried about the consequences of the Chief of Staff’s campaign against him. “I will not go to war for my honor or for my view of Torah. Instead, I will continue my educational work in the matter which I feel is right.” (IsraelNationalNews © 11/10/05)

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