Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR)


ACPR Research – Summary


Confronting “Disengagement”:
Israel, Civil Disobedience and the Higher Law

Louis René Beres Chaim Zimmerman Paul Eidelberg (ed.)

Policy Paper No. 158,  2005

The Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR) presents in this policy paper a combination of two unique essays on the Israeli Government’s Disengagement Plan. The first essay is the work of Professor Louis René Beres, a political scientist who is also an expert in international law. The second essay is based on the extraordinary erudition of one of the twentieth-century’s greatest Talmudic scholars and Torah philosophers, the late Rabbi Dr. Chaim Zimmerman. This second essay has been condensed and annotated by Professor Paul Eidelberg, a political scientist who studied with Rav Chaim for many years. The combination of these two essays provides the most comprehensive and deeply informed critique of the Disengagement Plan, a critique comprehensible and meaningful to all Jews (secular or religious) as well as to all others who recognize God’s eternal and immutable promise of Israel to the Jewish people.

The Disengagement Plan entails the uprooting of some 10,000 Jews from their homes in Gaza and Northern Samaria, and the turning over of this Jewish land to Israel’s enemies. “Disengagement” was the central issue of Israel’s January 2003 national election. In that election, the Labor Party, the author of disengagement, was overwhelmingly defeated by the Plan’s opponents, the Likud. Nevertheless, less than a year later, Likud Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made disengagement the centerpiece of his national policy and forced it though the Knesset despite its having been clearly rejected not only by the electorate but also by a referendum he initiated in his own party.

The Disengagement Plan has divided the nation to the extent of arousing fear of a civil war. Religious as well as non-religious Jews oppose this plan. Israeli professors of law and attorneys have shown that the plan violates domestic and international law. Professor Beres will comment instructively on the legal aspects of the issue and will also show, in a scintillating display of scholarship, how disengagement violates the Higher Law doctrine of Western civilization, which originates in the Bible of Israel. However, to fully appreciate how and why the Disengagement Plan violates Jewish law, (Halacha), the masterful erudition of the late Rabbi Dr. Chaim Zimmerman is necessary. The ACPR trusts that secular and religious readers will be enlightened by both of the essays in this policy paper, and that this essential fusion of perspectives will remind Israelis of their true obligations, as Jews and as citizens of the most persistently endangered state on planet Earth.

Arieh Stav
Director, ACPR


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