On December 17th, 1993, former Chief Rabbi of Israel and the IDF, Rabbi Shlomo Goren, called upon IDF soldiers to disobey orders of uprooting Jewish settlements. Born in northern Poland and raised in the British Mandate of Palestine, Gorn has become an icon in Israeli history and a symbol of the Jewish Zionist movement.
"Any order that contradicts the law of Moses is a rebellion against Moses, against the Torah, against Judaism, and against the Almighty, and it must, absolutely must, be rejected and refused." Goren’s controversial statement came in the middle of massive protests in Israel over the soon-to-be-signed Oslo Accords.
Goren was far from your modern typical rabbi and was extremely active both in his military career and in rabbinical rulings that were unintentionally politically polarizing. It is said that during Israel’s War of Independence, battle-hardened Goren would collect bodies from open fields at great personal risk, to ensure all soldiers received a proper burial. Amongst many of his policies during his many rabbinical positions, Goren was strictly opposed to separation between secular and religious soldiers and called for united brigades consisting of all Israeli citizens.
✨ This shameful situation, where under Israeli rule a Jew does not have the right to pray on the mountain of God, cannot be tolerated under any circumstances (Rabbi Shlomo Goren)#HighOnTheHar ✨ pic.twitter.com/o4xvUQOAIh— 🔥 High On The Har 🔥 (@highonthehar) December 8, 2022
In 1993, just a year before the Rabbi’s passing, PM Yitzhak Rabin was negotiating the terms of a future Palestinian state. Being a proud leader of the Religious Zionist movement, Rabbi Goren was naturally extremely against the foundation of an Arab state on Judean lands. In a statement released by Goren, the Halachic opposition to uprooting Israeli settlements was presented. He explained that as Jews, Torah is first and military orders are second.
Goren’s statements were called out by PM Rabin himself along with many other politicians who called for an investigation against him. His statement was considered by many as the most politically controversial ideology spread by a mainstream rabbi. Nevertheless, in the Palestinian Muslim world, leading figures such as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem at the time were calling for the killing of Jews.
Hero of #Israel.— RedLehi (@LehiRed) June 7, 2020
Shlomo Goren inside the Dome of the Rock, 07 JUN 1967. This rare image is from a film discovered in IDF archives only in 2006; the film had been censored and was never released. pic.twitter.com/iCO0RfhqTb
Goren was also extremely against any form of Jewish terrorism. A joint statement released by Rabbi Goren and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef after a Jewish man killed Muslims on the Temple Mount said: "We and the entire Jewish people attack and deplore the criminal act of murder in every possible way. Through this abominable act Alan Goodman has removed himself from the Jewish people..."