It won’t stop with Rabbi Eliyahu: Religious Zionism should wake up
Following the decision of the High Court to put Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu on trial, Benzi Gopstein calls on the National Religious public to wake up, and claims that the judges are tightening the noose around freedom of speech for Rabbis to freely express a Torah opinion: “Everyone understands that here, too, Rabbi Kahane was right”
Benzi Gopstein, Kipa 4 Tishrei 5781/22 September 2020
Many in Religious Zionism were caught by surprise with the decision of the High Court to put Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu on trial. Accordingly, the many responses that came from the Right, from politicians and various public figures, were sharper than usual. There are those who claimed that this is a decision that will be a slippery slope that will lead to the silencing of additional rabbis.
But the slippery slope was actually created not long ago, 32 years ago. It happened when in the year 1988, the High Court decided to ban the Kach movement and Rabbi Meir Kahane from running in the elections, on charges of “racism”. This continued with the banning of his son Rabbi Binyamin Kahane’s list, and with their ban on me and my friends, Dr. Michael Ben Ari and Baruch Marzel, about a year ago, from running for the Knesset.
When they banned Rabbi Kahane, he called a press conference and declared: “The disqualified banned the kosher”. In his day, those were words that were forbidden to say. Religious Zionists renounced them, and rabbis in this sector kept silent on the ban. But today, as the High Court tightens the noose around the freedom of speech of the rabbis to express freely a Torah opinion, everybody understands that here, too, Rabbi Kahane was right.
Another common denominator that I and my friends in Otzma Yehudit share with Rabbi Eliyahu, aside from the fact that the High Court judges bullied us, are the ones who are fighting to disqualify us and take Rabbi Eliyahu to court: Those of the Reform movement. The Reform movement are the ones who petitioned the High Court to disqualify us from being in the Knesset, and they are the ones who petitioned the High Court to put Rabbi Eliyahu on trial. This is the main thrust of their activity: For many years they have been persecuting anyone who is occupied with, and expresses in public, without fear and without distortions, the positions of Judaism and Jewish law dealing with the existence of the Jewish nation as a proud nation that returned from exile in order to live a Jewish-national life in their land.
For this reason, when the decision was published last night, I was reminded of the Makor Rishon (newspaper) conference that took place not long ago, where a well-known rabbi from the Religious-Zionist movement participated in a joint ZOOM session with a senior representative of the Reform movement from France, with the goal of “bringing hearts together”. Despite the scathing public criticism, the rabbi did not retract, and he even justified and encouraged other sessions with the Reformists. And therefore, on just such cases our Sages said: “Whoever flatters the wicked, in the end falls into his hand.”
The Reform do not rule out any means; they will fight to the end, anyone who expresses a clear Torah view on assimilation, on the way we should act towards our enemies, on the distinction between Israel and the nations, on the LGBTQ movement, on the observance of Shabbat in the public domain, and essentially, n any area touching upon the Jewish character of the state. And yes, they will do this to anyone who tries to find favor in their eyes, too – if his halachic rulings and positions do not align with theirs.
The decision of the High Court on Rabbi Eliyahu, then, should serve as a warning light to the Religious-Zionist public. There is no more explicit call than this, which consists of one word: AWAKEN! This won’t stop with Rabbi Eliyahu. As long as the state of Israel will allow the well-oiled war machine of the reformers of Judaism to continue to exist, and as long as High Court judges will continue to faithfully represent them, the fate of freedom of speech for the rabbis, conservative and liberal alike, is in danger.