B"H. Beis Moshiach Magazine is powered by:




Only A Momentary Concealment

An interview with Rabbi Zalman Melamed, one of the leading rabbanim in Yesh’a

By Shai Gefen


Last week [now two weeks ago — Ed.] there was a gathering of rabbanim for shleimus ha’aretz. What did you discuss?

Because of the talk about giving away parts of Eretz Yisroel, whether in Yesh’a or the Golan, hundreds of rabbanim convened to discuss this threat to our security. Led by Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu and Rabbi Avrohom Shapiro, former chief rabbis of Eretz Yisroel, it was unanimously agreed that it is absolutely forbidden to give away even one inch of land, as it puts lives in danger. We hope that Hashem will hear our prayers and have mercy.

At this meeting I noted that we at Channel 7 [Arutz Sheva] are not allowed to broadcast directly to Eretz Yisroel. Instead, we are forced to broadcast to a satellite, which beams our broadcasts back to Eretz Yisroel. This restriction parallels the government’s disinterest in dealing with us directly. All we can do is “broadcast” to Hashem, and He will, in turn, convey the directives to save Eretz Yisroel.

The public sentiment seems to be that Israel is selling out, as the government is trying to keep the process moving at all costs.

Despite the difficult situation, we feel that Hashem in His kindness is preventing the government from doing what it wants. Even if it seems that everything is negative, we must continue to hope for a change for the better.

How are we to be optimistic when the government is planning significant withdrawals from Eretz Yisroel?

In my speech at the meeting, I explained that this government is under investigation to see whether it was voted in honestly or not. A government under such scrutiny is in no position to discuss issues having to do with withdrawals and issues that endanger the security of millions of Jews living here.

We see an amazing thing happening. The more they try to give land away to the goyim, the more the goyim themselves refuse to take it. We hope that it will all end well.

The goyim are pressuring them for land in and around Yerushalayim, and it looks as though the government will give into them.

You are talking about abandoning Yerushalayim to goyim, when even the Har HaBayis (Temple Mount) is being desecrated in broad daylight with the sanction of the Israeli government! Since the government doesn’t call an immediate halt to these activities, this demonstrates incredible weakness. The Arabs are breaking the foundations of the Har Ha’Bayis, and they are tossing the earth and whatever they find into the garbage. We must take a stand against this disastrous state of affairs. It is intolerable that Yerushalayim the Holy City is being desecrated while the Jewish government looks on! We have never had such a thing happen before in our history.

Over 60 years ago, when there was talk about dividing Eretz Yisroel, Rabbi Amiel, zt’l, said that if representatives of the Jewish nation would sign away parts of Eretz Yisroel, it would be the greatest chilul Hashem ever. The holiness of the Torah cannot be compromised. We cannot look away when it comes to dividing Eretz Yisroel.

I must add that in 5697 (1937) the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah publicized its position, which was opposed to dividing Eretz Yisroel. The great Rabbi Menachem Ziemba, may Hashem avenge his blood, compared the Torah, whose holiness is diminished when it is missing a letter, to Eretz Yisroel in the same situation. If a small part of Eretz Yisroel is undermined, it undermines the entire status of Eretz Yisroel.

We all remember when the Rebbe said to Mr. Moshe Katzav on Yud Shvat 5752, that when Jews give away portions of Eretz Yisroel there is no greater chilul Hashem, r’l.

Were any special resolutions passed at the gathering of rabbanim?

We resolved to stand strong for shleimus ha’aretz. The rabbanim were asked to use their influence in their own communities to avert a tragedy. Naturally, we also called upon the Israeli government to immediately stop the runaway train.

There is the sense that everything is slipping through our fingers, and that we are backing ourselves into a more difficult situation than any we have experienced as a nation. What are we to do about it?

First of all, we must not despair. We must protest and stand strong, so that nothing is given to our enemies, but we must not despair. If you are talking about perspectives, it is specifically now that we see clearly that we are in the process of getting stronger. Yes, there are still obstacles, but we shall overcome them. We must remain strong in our emuna and bitachon and instill this within those around us. There is no question that if we do our all, and each one of us exerts his personal influence, we will succeed in preventing further withdrawals.

The present government has announced that its goal is to continue withdrawing, so how is it possible to stop this process?

We are not politicians. We operate spiritually as rabbanim, and we believe that we can make a difference. We have to do what we have to do, and, by Divine providence, things will resolve themselves. I am sure that influence from afar also has an effect.

How exactly will the changes come about? We don’t know and it is no concern of ours. When a large group of people observes the Torah, and davens and cries out about the situation, the Ribono Shel Olam has His ways of stopping these perilous proceedings.

We are in the midst of a heated public debate as to whether to leave Lebanon or not. What is your opinion?

At first glance, it seems out of the question to leave Lebanon, especially in a position of weakness and capitulation. However, things are so complicated that I think that ultimately there is nothing that we can do to repair the situation; only help from Above will correct matters.

How do you envisage this “help from Above” to materialize?

Unfortunately, we see a spirit of dejection among a large part of the population. I think it is an indication of an inner process that keeps progressing in a definite direction. Externally, things are going downhill on all fronts, and from day to day more outrageous things are said and done than we could ever have imagined. However, I think it is only a foil for an increase in spiritual activity.

Look at the other side of the coin. We see a constant aliya to Eretz Yisroel. We see a strengthening of Torah study, with yeshivos and mosdos Torah constantly growing. Even the settlements in Yesh’a, despite the government’s attempts to prevent expansion, have grown. Nearly every settlement throughout Yesh’a has seen considerable growth in the last year. In our yishuv at Beit-El, about 100 new families came to join us this past year. And the same is true all over.

Apparently, despite the reckless and dangerous steps taken by the government, there is constant building. New neighborhoods arise and there is amazing growth in the settlements. How does this fit with what the government is trying to do? It seems to me that this is nothing but a smokescreen that obscures what’s really happening. The time will come that we will see that everything that happened was only a momentary concealment.

If so, why must we cry out about returning parts of Eretz Yisroel?

Despite the growth, we cannot stand on the sidelines during these difficult times. We must muster our strength and not allow this dangerous process to continue. We all know where such talks can lead us.

Why is it that people don’t understand the danger in giving away land in Yesh’a, although the message seemed to get across when it came to the Golan?

I know that as we speak, people are working on getting the public to come to Yesh’a. I’m talking about bringing a million Jews on tours and visits throughout Yesh’a, and, baruch Hashem, this campaign is seeing success. Thousands of people come and connect. Evidently, the media misrepresents public opinion.

In fact, we also see this shocking phenomenon in the approach of those people who sit in radio studios and in the editorial offices of newspapers, people who stick knives in the backs of I.D.F. soldiers. They wage war against soldiers on the frontlines and weaken their position.

How do you explain such irrational behavior?

It really isn’t understandable, but looking into it more deeply, I think that this is another of Heaven’s ways of torpedoing the government’s activities, since the Left is weakening the government. Who knows, perhaps this is what will help ensure that the government will not continue but will cease caving into the goyim in such a shameful fashion.

It is possible that just such a situation, when the government is weak, will lead to circumstances in which it will be unable to act hastily. It seems that it may be better to have such a weak government, for then it will fall and a better one will take its place.

How do you explain the fact that this government coalition is partially comprised of observant Jews?

In my opinion, it is impossible for Jews loyal to Torah to be partners in conceding parts of Eretz Yisroel. In the near future they plan on giving Arafat an additional six percent, each percent being the size of Tel Aviv. How could an observant Jew be part of a government that rips Eretz Yisroel to shreds? The budget and financial support the government gives them does not justify supporting the abandonment of Eretz Yisroel. How can a Jew who says Shma Yisroel every day and puts on tefillin and davens three times a day continue to support a government that tears Eretz Yisroel apart and gives it away to the enemy?

We all see the terrible anti-Semitism in the Arab world. This is an enemy who wants to destroy us, r’l. The incitement in their media is terrible. Do we want to give away parts of Eretz Yisroel to people like that?

Doesn’t the government realize how absurd it is?

The situation arose from a worldview that lacks emuna. As I said earlier, this process may be taking place so that the correct perspective will ultimately prevail. As we speak, the entire moral basis for the government is being destroyed. Investigations of heads of government are only part of what I am talking about. It’s like discarding an old paper and preparing a fresh blank slate from which will shine the light of Torah. It is impossible to explain the blindness of our leaders, who turn light into darkness and darkness into light.

You were one of the people who founded Channel 7. A few weeks ago they tried to close you down when hundreds of policemen besieged the studio in Beit-El. Could you comment on that?

It’s the government’s attempt to shut us up. Instead of approving of this channel and enabling everybody’s voice to be heard, they censor us. I know that they are always seeking ways of harming us, and that flies in the face of their talk of free speech and democracy. If law were important to them, they would enact a law that would allow the religious and nationalists to speak up. Just as anyone can start his own newspaper, anyone can open a radio station. There are plenty of available channels on the airwaves, according to industry experts.

They claim that you are interfering with the airplanes at the airport and are endangering the lives of thousands of passengers...

That was never the case, and they know it. It is an outright lie! The frequencies of the airwaves we use are entirely unlike those used by pilots. It has nothing to do with them.

They are expected to accept a resolution for a new law that would undermine the licensing of Channel 7.

We really hope this law will not be passed. All efforts to squelch Channel 7 testify to the channel’s great influence. Since we established it 12 years ago, it has strengthened the public in matters concerning Eretz Yisroel and Yiddishkeit. Channel 7 has educated many people about Eretz Yisroel, the religious sector as well as the general public.

Does the case against the directors of Channel 7 still exist?

It sure does, and I am one of the “guilty” parties. Though, I actually see it as a z’chus. Fortunate are we who are caught for divrei Torah. I am happy for this privilege of breaking the law to get Torah and love for the land out to the Jewish people. I have no regrets. On the contrary…

How would you like to conclude this talk?

We have to be full of emuna and bitachon that Hashem will not abandon His people. Any weakness we see is merely superficial and transient. The truth is that we are actually taking giant steps toward the true and complete Redemption. 

Rabbi Zalman Melamed


The more they try to give land away to the goyim, the more the goyim themselves refuse to take it.






Know that as we speak, people are working on getting the public to come to Yesh’a. I’m talking about bringing a million Jews on tours and visits throughout Yesh’a.





I am happy for this privilege of breaking the law to get Torah and love for the land out to the Jewish people. I have no regrets.



Home | Contents | Archives | Contact Us | Subscriptions | Submissions | Interactive | Classified | Advertise

©Copyright. No content may be reprinted without permission.