A leading rabbinical group slammed the Trump plan because it “may call for the relinquishment of portions of Judea and Samaria” to make way for a Palestinian state.
By Ebin Sandler, World Israel News
The Rabbinical Alliance of America (RAA) circulated a strongly worded statement on Monday, rejecting in no uncertain terms U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan.
“[The] grandiose ‘Deal of the Century’ being advocated by the Trump administration may call for the relinquishment of portions of Judea and Samaria for the purposes of making peace,” says the statement, which was authored by Rabbi Yaakov Klass, one of four members who sit on the RAA executive committee.
“Without hesitation, the [RAA] vehemently in the strongest terms possible calls upon the Israeli government … not to acquiesce to the surrender of even one inch of our [holy land] for this ‘Deal of The Century,'” Klass continues.
The statement supports the RAA’s position with passages from Torah and the Talmud related to the concept of “Shleimus Haaretz,” which refers to the mandate to maintain sovereignty over all territories that fall within the biblical borders of the land of Israel.
The letter also refers to a well-known rabbinical ruling on the topic by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902-1994), the spiritual leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch hasidic movement, who is also known as the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
“The Lubavitcher Rebbe admonished against surrendering any land that is part of [the land of Israel]. Under the Rebbe’s [ruling] and doctrine of Shleimus Haaretz, it is strictly forbidden as a matter of Jewish law to relinquish even one inch of [the land of Israel], which is Holy Land,” Klass explains.
He adds, “The Lubavitcher Rebbe’s [ruling] and doctrine of Shleimus Haaretz has been adopted by the Rabbinical Alliance of America as part of our organizational platform and policy.”
The RAA issued the statement as Israel approaches a July 1 deadline to begin annexing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, a plan for which Netanyahu’s government seeks the approval of the U.S.
Under the “vision for peace” proposed by the Trump administration, the Palestinians have been offered an “independent state” in Judea and Samaria, a feature that contravenes the Shleimus Haaretz doctrine and rabbinical ruling referenced in the RAA statement.
The RAA’s comments on Monday follow a statement last week that seemed to signal support for Netanyahu’s sovereignty plan.
“Extending sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria is absolutely essential for the future of peace in the Middle East and the world,” said Klass in that statement.
Chairman of the RAA’s Israel Advocacy Commission Rabbi Joseph Frager added, “The RAA supports sovereignty in all existing Jewish towns and villages in Judea and Samaria as well as the Jordan Valley, but does not support a PLO [Palestinian] State.”
Around half a million Israelis currently live in Judea and Samaria and the Netanyahu plan calls for annexation of about one-third of the region, leaving the remainder under Palestinian Authority control.
The RAA is a national organization founded in 1942 with over 900 members “across a broad spectrum of Orthodox Judaism,” who “serve as congregational leaders, religious teachers, chaplains, heads of Jewish organizations and communal leaders.”