Major Rabbis: Forbidden for the government to surrender to terror and extortion

Major Rabbis: Forbidden for the government to surrender to terror and extortion

A group of influential rabbis signed an open letter, blessing the families of Israeli hostages. While the rabbis acknowledged the commandment to redeem hostages, they warned of the dire consequences of submitting to terror.

“To the dear families of the Israeli hostages in Gaza, Shalom uvrachah [Peace and blessings],”

“We are all with you as one person. We pray with all our hearts for the safety of our beloved sons and daughters, who are being held captive in the hands of a cruel enemy. We anticipate God’s salvation with their return to their families, in sound and complete health.

“In answer to your question regarding the planned hostage release deal, let it be known that we strengthen you in your principled statement that it is forbidden for the government to surrender to terror and extortion. Stopping the war in the middle, while surrendering to the dictate of the enemy, is a grave danger to our soldiers and to all the citizens of Israel. It makes it possible for the enemy to re-arm and raise its head and is liable to bring about much bloodshed and even pre-empt victory.

“The Torah provides us with the responsible approach: “There is no mitzvah greater than freeing hostages,” yet, it is forbidden to agree to extortion, which leads to severe problems in the future. Ceasing the fighting now is an exorbitant price that is prohibited to pay. We have all seen the terrible consequences of irresponsible deals made in the past, in which murderers were set free only to have them attack us again.

“The right course to take for the hostages is to continue the war with full force and without halt, to actively seek to destroy the terror organizations, and to intensify the pressure on the enemy as much as possible. We must seek to reach a position of power, from which we will be able to dictate the conditions that will, with God’s help, bring about the release of all the hostages.

“May God answer our prayers and hear our supplications, and may we merit to see the fulfillment of the verse, ‘And the ransomed of God shall return, and come singing into Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall attain delight and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away’ (Isaiah 51:11), speedily in our days, amen.”

The letter was signed by Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Rabbi David Druckman, and Rabbi Eliyahu Zini.

On Friday, a four-day cease-fire went into effect as Israel awaits the return of 13 hostages.

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