Rabbi Dov Lior
Rabbi Lior, Rabbi Eliyahu express harsh criticism of prisoner swap deal for the return of captive soldier Gilad Shalit, say 'his blood is no redder than anyone else's,' but stress 'every effort should be made to secure his release'
Rabbi Dov Lior and Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu expressed harsh criticism of the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal in which over 1,000 security prisoners are set to be released in exchange for the captive Israeli soldier.
Lior, who is the rabbi of Kiryat Arba and heads its yeshiva on Sunday published a halachic manifesto in which he explained the halachic claims against the Shalit deal, which he had previously called "a humiliation of the Israeli people," stating he does not think "anything good will come of it."
In a letter he opened with "To our brothers the people of Israel", the rabbi warned that "there is no doubt that surrender to terrorist extortion can endanger our brothers who reside here in the future, as previously happened when many of the terrorists who were released went back to their old habits and that is a real threat to the people of Zion. This is why we cannot save one and almost definitely endanger the entire population."
In the letter, Rabbi Lior specified the halachic principle that captives are not redeemed for more than their own blood.
The Kiryat Arba rabbi also warned against the true intentions of Hamas: "The terrorists have a tendency to humiliate the State of Israel…and who knows if they weren't interested in torpedoing the move and all this was only done to dishonor Israel", he wrote, stressing that "this is why there is no room to accept their demands."
Rabbi Lior noted that his statements came "in response to people's request that he publish a manifesto on the halacha's stance on the deal for the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit", and that in spite of the objections to the deal, "it doesn't mean that every effort should not be made to secure his release.
"For example, by not holding terrorists in 'five star' conditions in prison and by preventing any aid from reaching the Hamas government in Gaza… but not by actions that could endanger and humiliate Israel."
The rabbi noted that he was happy to see the show of sympathy and joy at the news of "the return of the captive soldier to his family and the nation. This is where the basic truth of Israel's mutual trust and love are revealed in all thir scope and depth, though we must look at the event from all its perspectives and draw practical conclusions. "
'Precious to us all'
Also on Sunday, Safed's chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu also expressed his opposition to the Shalit deal. At a visit to the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem's Old City, the rabbi said that the deal was contrary to the Torah's practices as the Torah forbids the release of murderers.
"The halachic outlook negates the release of murderers. The blood of Gilad Shalit is precious to us all and we all love him, but his blood is no redder than that of anyone else."
He added that: We unite beyond any dispute and love one another. We are strengthening this love."