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"Is it permissible to surrender portions of the Land of Israel to an enemy as part of a peace agreement?" That's this week's 'Ask The Rabbi
Friday, June 13, 2003


Feature Question' by Rabbi David Samson at:


Is it permissible to surrender portions of the Land of Israel to an enemy as part of a peace agreement?

More than four thousand years ago, long before George Bush got to the White House, G-d gave a roadmap to the Jewish People. The borders of the Holy Land were established and sealed by the Covenant between G-d and the Children of Israel – an irrevocable constant which can never be changed. [1]

The idea of dividing the Land of Israel is not new. In the wake of the Intifada of 1936, the Royal British Committee drew up a map dividing Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel), called the “Partition Plan.” The Plan called for two states, Israeli and Arab, which would dwell side-by-side in peace. In response, leading rabbis at that time voiced their opinions. Chief Rabbi of Israel Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog called for a general assembly of all the leading rabbis, but it was canceled because of the reign of Arab terror that made travel to Jerusalem perilous at that time. Nonetheless, the majority of the rabbis unequivocally established that dividing the Land of Israel was prohibited by the Torah. [2]

Rabbi Yaacov Moshe Harlop, Rosh Yeshiva at the time of Mercaz HaRav in Jerusalem, stated:
“Behold, the matter is simple and clear – Heaven forbid that the Jewish People relinquish any tiny concession of any iota of land that is sanctified with the holiness of Eretz Yisrael…. There is no doubt that if the matter reaches the point where we will need sign an international agreement that includes any form of surrender of our rights to Eretz Yisrael, it is preferable for those signing to chop off their thumbs, rather than to chop up the garden of Zion.”

Rabbi Harlop continues: “Just like a person who states that the entire Torah is from Heaven, except for one letter, he is considered a heretic, so too one who states that all of Israel belongs to the Jewish People except for one footstep, behold he is totally cut off from the holiness of the Land and he violates the soul of Israel….for Israel is undividable. A division of Eretz Yisrael will inevitably lead to war…not to mention the wrath of G-d which will be cast upon us Heaven forbid….Eretz Yisrael is for the Jewish People the Land of Life, its soul and the source of all of its vitality. Even an iota that is missing fatally weakens its life, just as when the heart is pierced. [3]

Rabbi Reuven Margoliot, author of the Talmudic work “Margoliot HaYam,” wrote:
“I agree with the opinion of absolute opposition to accepting the Partition Plan. There is a need to amass a determined opposition with all force against the Plan’s acceptance to explain to the community and to the Jews the world over that a tiny canton of Israel cannot survive.” [4]

Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, stated:
“If the Jewish People have the power to acquire all of Israel as bequeathed to us from our forefathers, the matter is simple – we do not have permission to relinquish even one footstep of Land to foreigners, as it says, ‘Do not sell them the land.’ Where do we learn this? ‘Rabbi Yose bar Chanina says, Do not give them possession in the Land.’ [5] Behold it is explicit that there is a Torah prohibition forbidding the sale of even a single tree to the gentiles.” [4]

Rabbi Yechiel Michal Tekuchinsky, author of “Luach Eretz Yisrael,” stated:
“Definitely, without a doubt, we and all of us have absolutely no permission (to sign) a peace agreement to remove any portion of the Land to others. Not only are we not allowed or permitted to relinquish, there is absolutely no value to any concession, just like it is impossible to change the borders between day and night, so it is equally impossible to change the borders of the Land as designated in the Torah, for both these matters were sealed by He who gave the Torah, the Master and Creator of the world.” [4]

Rabbi Kaniel of Haifa said: “I believe that no one at all has any permission whatsoever, whether an individual or a group, to concede the right of the Jewish People to Eretz Yisrael in all of its boundaries. For the elected representatives of the nation are only caretakers in their responsibility to the Jews of all generations, and they do not have the right to tamper with the inheritance of the Jewish People from our forefathers.” [4]

Quoting the Talmud [6], he states: “We learn that King Omri merited kingship because he added one city in the Land of Israel. If we truly want a state and we aspire to the crown of sovereignty and kingship, we mustn’t relinquish our existing settlements, that it should be said regarding us ‘They despised the cherished Land and did not believe His promise,’ (Psalms, 106.) Rather, we must increase the settlement of the Land.” [4]

If this is what the rabbis said when we did not have a Jewish State in Israel, how much more should we today champion our G-d given right to Eretz Yisrael and work to strengthen its settlement in all of its Biblical borders.

In the immortal words of Ecclesiastes, “A generation comes, and a generation goes, but the Land remains forever.”
[1] Genesis, 13:7; 12:16: 13:17; 16:18: 17:8. See the proclamation “L’man Daat,” by HaRav Tazvi Yehuda Kook, printed in the book “Torat Eretz Yisrael,” pg. 374.
[2] For a history of the period, see the book, “Pulmus HaHaluka B’tekufah HaMandate,” by Shmuel Dotan.
[3] “Zikof HaKooma, Daniel Sirkus, His Life and Deeds,” by Pincus Sirkus. Pg. 112. Also, Tachumin, Vol. 9, Pg. 270.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Avodah Zora, 19B. Deut. 7.
[6] Sanhedrin 120B.

Rabbi David Samson is one of the leading English-speaking Torah scholars in the Religious-Zionist movement in Israel. He has co-authored four books on the writings of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Hacohen Kook and Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook available on-line at Rabbi Samson learned for twelve years under the tutelage of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook. He served as Rabbi of the Kehillat Dati Leumi Synagogue in Har Nof, Jerusalem, and teaches Jewish Studies at Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva Institutions.

Tzvi Fishman was a successful Hollywood screenwriter before making Aliyah to Israel in 1984. He has co-authored several Torah works with Rabbi David Samson and written several books on Jewish/Israel topics. His two most recent books Days of Mashiach and Tuvia In the Promised Land are available on-line at:

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Union of Rabbis' Strong opposition to giving up land

Arutz Sheva News Service
Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2004


Over 200 rabbis from all over Israel arrived in the Ramada Renaissance Hotel in Jerusalem yesterday for what was termed an emergency session of the Union of Rabbis in light of the threat to the integrity of the Land of Israel.  Speaker after speaker expressed objections on every possible grounds to the Prime Minister's plan to withdraw Israeli control from Gaza and expel close to 8,000 Jews from their homes in the Land of Israel.

Presiding over the conference was Rabbi Avraham Shapira, who served as Israel's Chief Rabbi from 1983-1993, and who heads the Central Universal Yeshiva (Merkaz HaRav) in Jerusalem.  "The events have shown all of us that, Heaven forbid, whoever harms the Land of Israel, whoever thinks thoughts in this direction, loses his seat and his regime," Rabbi Shapira said.  "We are expressing not a political opinion, but the opinion of Torah; whoever wants to hear it, will hear it.  The Torah says that the entire land is ours and we must not give it away, and especially when it is liable to lead to loss of life."

"We come in the name of the Torah to strengthen and be strengthened," Rabbi Shapira continued. "The entire public, our rabbis and their students, will cry out and will act, even if we have to instruct the public to gather in Gaza, in Gush Katif, we will do that, with G-d's help, with might and valor and greatness, to double and triple the number of Jews there, and not allow the evacuation and uprooting of a Jewish town.  It is against Torah law and simple morality, and the government must not even discuss it!"

Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, who served as Rishon LeTzion (Chief Sephardic Rabbi) alongside Rabbi Shapira, said that no one has the right to give away parts of the Land of Israel.  "Let no one think that just because he was elected, this means that the Land of Israel is his."  He said that Israel's economic and religious situation is bound up with the strength of our connection with the Land.

Rabbi Elyakim Levanon of Elon Moreh said, "If the Prime Minister goes to the U.S., President Bush should know that Sharon is presenting a check with no backing."

Rabbi David Chai HaCohen of Bat Yam: "The dismantling of communities is a crime against the Jewish nation throughout the generations, one that cannot be forgiven.  An agreement in this spirit is akin to the Munich agreement made with the Nazis."

A position paper distributed at the conference read as follows:         "The right and obligation of the Nation of Israel towards the Land of Israel is an eternal right to the entire land and throughout all the generations.  The plan to uproot flourishing communities from their land is in total opposition to the Torah of Israel.  It is forbidden to be a partner to such a plan in any manner.  According to Halakhah [Jewish Law], no one - including government ministers and the Prime Minister - has the right to promote this ruinous program.  We call upon all the political parties, ministers and Knesset Members who are loyal to the G-d of Israel and His land to act to thwart this program in the Cabinet. If the Cabinet accepts this terrible program, Heaven forbid, and all the more so if the Prime Minister travels to present the program without a Cabinet decision, they must quit the government immediately."

The conference drew the attention of extreme-left MK Zahava Gal'on (Meretz), who said that the Attorney-General should investigate whether the rabbis' words constituted incitement against the government.  She added that the rabbis are a "ticking time bomb."

The rabbis convening in Jerusalem yesterday heard, in addition to Torah-based declarations, a political analysis as well.  Amanah Settlement Organization Director Ze'ev Chever told them: "Two weeks ago, following a series of declarations and speeches about painful concessions, including a Palestinian state, the Prime Minister dropped the bomb of uprooting 17 communities in Gaza.  This is the way it's done: He drops a 'bomb,' then he says, don't worry, there's still time, and then a few weeks later he drops another 'bomb' and the public gets used to the previous decrees and forgets about them...  Sharon is not just talking; all the indications are that he's serious...         "As opposed to the previous plans, this one is not dependent on anything external.  It makes no demands on anyone else, and expects nothing in return.  This is a unilateral plan, and it could happen in the coming year.  We have to aim towards ensuring that final plans are not made, and that's why we have to get the Cabinet to discuss it and decide quickly.  We feel that the plan will not pass in the Cabinet; the popular perception that the public is in favor of the plan is not correct."


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COUNTER MOUNTING attacks in the nations on Jews & Christions with homes for them  in Israel

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Judea, Samaria and Gaza are not ‘occupied territories’ according to international law due to the fact that they were not taken from any foreign sovereign,” says Law Professor Talia Einhorn, a senior member of the research faculty at Tel Aviv University and a Law professor at the Shaarei Mishpat College in Hod HaSharon.
   Einhorn delivered her statements at a session entitled “U.S.-Israel Relations” at the Jerusalem Conference which concluded Wednesday. She declared: “It is important to remember and mention daily what Israel has already said for years, not only the government, but judicial experts – that Yesha [Judea, Samaria and Gaza], according to international law is not occupied territory.” Einhorn explained that when Israel won the Six-Day War, no foreign country had recognized sovereignty over the land that was liberated. Egypt claimed no sovereignty over Gaza, and when Jordan tried to assert sovereignty over Judea and Samaria in 1950, the only countries to recognize it were England and Pakistan – with England limiting its recognition to eastern Jerusalem, but not the expanses of land extending north and south of it.
   “Their biggest opponents were in fact the Arab countries,” said Einhorn. She went on to say that the 1967 demarcation lines are in fact, according to international agreements, simply cease-fire lines that should never be considered political demarcations or national borders.
   In the Encyclopedia of International Law, it is written that Israel was established without international borders. Israel’s only internationally recognized borders are with Jordan and Egypt, as a result of the peace agreements that were signed.
   Calling Israel ‘Colonialist’ with the intention of deligitimization is very severe, Einhorn said, especially considering how specious the argument is. “The Land of Israel is our land. No other nation ever made Israel into its country.” Arutz Sheva News Service. Mar. 18, 2004
Scriptures we stand on about Israel

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