How Sincere was IDF Chief Rabbi Weiss’s Retirement Speech?

Outgoing IDF Chief Rabbi: No New Disengagement

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Outgoing IDF Chief Rabbi Brig.-Gen. Israel Weis said that there will never be another disengagement, Radio Kol Hai broadcast on Thursday.

During a farewell party at the College for Civil Administration in Glilot, the rabbi said that “our future existence depends on the eternal pledge to never again conduct a disengagement or convergence.”

For more background, click on these two additional reports;

Chief Military Rabbi: Gush Katif Sacrificed in Vain?


“More than 200 people came to the rabbi’s farewell party, among them Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, IDF generals, ministers and members of Knesset, such as opposition chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, and Minister of Industry, Trade, and Labor Eliyahu Yishai. Chief Military Rabbi Weiss is most identified with the disengagement plan.

Rabbi Weiss gave a speech after the chief of staff left.”

SOS-Israel: Boycott Outgoing IDF Chief Rabbi


“‘We demand that the Chief Military Rabbi, Brigadier General Yisrael Weiss, ask forgiveness and pardon from the dead and the families of the dead, and all those evacuated from Gush Katif ahead of the Day of Atonement,’ members of SOS-Israel told Ynet on Thursday.”

“‘In the disengagement plan, the chief military rabbinate, headed by Rabbi Weiss, were responsible for the desecration of holy graves in Gush Katif and the destruction of synagogues. Therefore we are demanding that he apologize for the pictures that appeared in the press during the removal of the graves.'”

“‘He cooperated with… the disengagement and helped uproot and desecrate dozens of holy graves in Gush Katif. He further sinned when he carried out the uprooting itself through desecration of the holy. The Israeli people will not forget the shocking pictures in which members of the military rabbinate and the chief rabbi are seen desecrating the honor of the head, in a way arousing contempt and revulsion.'”

“Rabbi Weiss took part in the disengagement plan despite the advice of rabbis: ‘With these acts Rabbi Weiss rebelled against the teachings of his teacher and rabbi, the revered elder Rabbi Avraham Shapira, who instructed him not to take part in the expulsion and the desecration of the dead. The acts of the chief military rabbi form a crime against Israel, and a blow to the holy values of Judaism.'”

For additional context;
MK Hendel: We Won’t Accept Repentance of Those Who Expelled Us


Hendel, who himself was expelled from Gush Katif, said about Weiss, “He is not the first senior officer to say that which we have been saying for a long time.” Hendel continued, “To those expelled, repentance won’t help. However, I hope that finally the lessons have been learned and that the corrupt officials who caused damage to the state will be removed from the government and the army.”


We in Olam Hazeh are not the ultimate judges of deepness, sincerity and completeness of Rabbi Weiss’s contrition, that judgement rests in Shemayim.

However, from this vantage point, Rabbi Weiss’s contrition appears lame and artificial.

He shares a responsibility at least equal, perhaps greater than others such as former chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon and others in key positions where they could have acted out of principle but instead acquiesed to the Expulsion of their fellow Jews and therefore, are directly responsible for it’s consequences on all levels.

There are nagging questions;

1/ It is reported that Rabbi Weiss gave his speech “after the chief of staff left.” Were there 2 speeches prepared?

2/ What made him go against the teachings of his teacher and rabbi, the revered elder Rabbi Avraham Shapira? Was he more concerned with a rationale for military obediance than for adherence to Halacha?

3/ Considering his words of contrition, one must ask why Halachic principle didn’t compell his immediate resignation rather than to take part in the expulsion.

In short, Rabbi Weiss’s retirement speech expressing contrition is meaningless in the forum in which he delivered it. For his words to have any meaning in this world, in this author’s opinion, he must express them face-to-face to Anshei Gush Katif accompanied by his solemn vow that if ever again confronted by the spectre of forced robbery at legalized gunpoint and expulsions of Jews from their homes, properties, communities and with the forced uprooting of Jewish graves from such communities and destruction of Jewish holy places in such communities; that he won’t rest and will devote his every breath to negating such a gezeira rah. MB