Rabbis Bemoan Jews Fighting Jews

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Rabbis in Israel were saddened by the government-ordered evacuation at the Beit Hashalom (House of Peace) in Hebron Thursday.

After meeting with representatives of Beit Hashalom's residents in the morning, Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered 600 IDF (Israel Defense Forces) troops, border guards and Israeli police to storm the building and evacuate the 250 Israelis inside.

"When a secular Jew does not adhere to halacha [Jewish law], when he desecrates the Shabbat [Sabbath], this is very unfortunate, but there is nothing religious Jews can do about it," said Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, chief rabbi of the Jewish community of Beit El (Bethel), who also heads the Ateret Yerushalayim Yeshiva (Torah seminary) in the Old City's Muslim quarter.

"However, when Jews fight Jews and they use violence against one another -- that is the worst. That is the biggest desecration of God's name," he said.

"We need to spread love for our fellow Jews and know that in the end, redemption will come," the rabbi said.

It bears noting that during the government's August 2005 pullout from the Gaza Strip, Rabbi Aviner did not condone those soldiers who refused to take part in the expulsion, despite the fact that they would be evacuating fellow Jews from their homes.

In an interview with Jerusalem Post correspondent Matthew Wagner, Harel Kohen, founder of israel national news who also lives in Beit El, said strife between the government and Jews living in Judea and Samaria (also called the West Bank) is not new.

"Behaving nicely has not necessarily proven itself," Kohen said.

"From its inception, settlements in…Judea and Samaria were not generally established while maintaining a friendly relationship and a smiling face with governments. With evil governments, acting nicely does not bring about just results," he said.

"The same is true about Beit Hashalom, which was purchased in a legal transaction. After the fact, it turns out that the use of force has not always been counterproductive," he said.

Kohen pointed out that "governments have not built settlements. At the most, they have helped settlement initiatives. Sometimes governments have blocked settlements," he said.

"In the final analysis…grassroots movements -- and mostly young people -- will be the ones who build the land of Israel. I think these are the thoughts going through the heads of many people right now," he said.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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