My colleague, Rabbi Ron Kronish, said the following on the BBC:
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY-FOR BBC RADIO 4
RABBI DR. RON KRONISH
Today is a difficult day in the history of Israel. We are sacrificing some
land-some parts of the land of Israel, which is holy to the Jewish
People-for the sake of peace, or at least a movement in the direction of
Is this worth the price? My answer is YES.
But the problem is more complex than this. We –the citizens of Israel, the
Jewish majority and the non-Jewish Arab minority-have voted for
disengagement. This is the policy of the democratically elected government
of Israel. Yet, we do this with much anxiety and many questions: will the
Palestinians see this as an act of peace or as an act of surrender, i.e. an
act of war? Will Gaza turn into a “terror state”, as some of our politicians
on the right suggest? Will this lead to peace agreements -between the two
peoples-rather than unilateral measures?? Or will this lead to more terror
and more violence on the part of the Palestinians as a way to achieve
As a religious Jew, I am committed to the importance of living in the land
of Israel. This is why I chose to “go up” (to make aliyah) to live in this
land, with my family, over 26 years ago.
This land has been special-holy-for our people since the beginning of our
history. It is a sacred land. And the state of Israel is the “beginning of
the flowering of our redemption”, i.e. it is a vital political framework for
the achievement of our national aspirations as a Jewish people.
But land is not more important than life. Nor is land more important than
peace. Rather, peace -and the attempts to reach peace with all of our
neighbors-is our most important value.
In our Midrash, our literature of tales and traditions, we find this
statement about the importance of peace:
“If there is no peace, there is nothing at all, for Scripture
goes on to say in the Psalms, ‘And I will give Peace in the Land which
indicates that peace equals all else. Indeed, we say (in the morning
prayers), ‘When He made peace, He created everything.”
The search for peace is not simple. It will not end with this disengagement
from Gaza and a few settlements in Northern Samaria. But this is a good
beginning, an important step along the bumpy road to peace.
May the Divine Precious One lead us all to peace, shalom, salaam.