Rabbis Share Halachic Psak Against Shalit Deal


rabbi-dov-liorRabbi Dov Lior and Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu have expressed harsh criticism of the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal in which over 1,000 security prisoners are set to be released in exchange for the captive Israeli soldier.

Rabbi Lior, who is the rabbi of Kiryat Arba and heads its yeshiva on Sunday published a halachic manifesto in which he explained the halachic claims against the Shalit deal, which he had previously called “a humiliation of the Israeli people,” stating he does not think “anything good will come of it.”

In a letter he opened with “To our brothers the people of Israel”, the rabbi warned that “there is no doubt that surrender to terrorist extortion can endanger our brothers who reside here in the future, as previously happened when many of the terrorists who were released went back to their old habits and that is a real threat to the people of Tzion. This is why we cannot save one and almost definitely endanger the entire population.”

In the letter, Rabbi Lior specified the halachic principle that captives are not redeemed for more than their own blood.

The Kiryat Arba rabbi also warned against the true intentions of Hamas: “The terrorists have a tendency to humiliate the State of Israel…and who knows if they weren’t interested in torpedoing the move and all this was only done to dishonor Israel,” he wrote, stressing that “this is why there is no room to accept their demands.”

Rabbi Lior noted that his statements came “in response to people’s request that he publish a manifesto on the halacha’s stance on the deal for the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit”, and that in spite of the objections to the deal, “it doesn’t mean that every effort should not be made to secure his release.

“For example, by not holding terrorists in ‘five star’ conditions in prison and by preventing any aid from reaching the Hamas government in Gaza… but not by actions that could endanger and humiliate Israel.”

The rabbi noted that he was happy to see the show of sympathy and joy at the news of “the return of the captive soldier to his family and the nation. This is where the basic truth of Israel’s mutual trust and love are revealed in all thir scope and depth, though we must look at the event from all its perspectives and draw practical conclusions. ”

‘Precious to us all’

Also on Sunday, Tzefas chief rabbi Rav Shmuel Eliyahu also expressed his opposition to the Shalit deal. At a visit to the Jewish Quarter in Yerushalayim’s Old City, the rov said that the deal was contrary to the Torah’s practices as the Torah forbids the release of murderers.

“The halachic outlook negates the release of murderers. The blood of Gilad Shalit is precious to us all and we all love him, but his blood is no redder than that of anyone else.”

He added that: We unite beyond any dispute and love one another. We are strengthening this love.”

{Ynet/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. If terorists were given the death penalty, as the Lubavitcher Rebbe instructed, there would be no prisoner swap for murderers. Bibi visited the Rebbe, but he didn’t listen to his advice.

  2. Rav Moshe (Iggerot Moshe Choshen Mishpat 2:68) supports the death penalty for people who murder because of a cruel nature (rather than a manslaughter resulting from a fight) or if there is general hefkerut regarding this aveira.

  3. I believe the Israeli gov’t is not doing it because of Shalit’s blood being redder than anyone else’s. They are doing it for political gain. As in a previous article, Netanyahu was quoted, “I kept my promise”, so he is willing to endanger all of Klal Yisroel just to keep a promise. (Not that a promise is not worth something, but it has to be weighed very carefully.)
    It is not for any of us to judge whether or not it was a good decision, but it’s definitely interesting to hear rabbonim voicing their opinions against it.

  4. I paskened the same exact thing when I first heard of the deal. Rav Shlomo Goren, zt”l, was very explicit in that you cannot conduct prisoner transfers of this nature; we are sacrificing Israel’s safety and potentially risking thousands of Jewish lives for the sake of one life. That is unethical and is assur. R’ Yehuda Gershuni states that there is an additional concern in today’s prisoner transfers: The prisoners to be transferred openly plan on murdering civilians upon release. R. Gershuni argues that this consideration overrides any potential permission to redeem the Jewish captives through a prisoner transfer. The life-threatening danger to the captives does not override the danger to the public of releasing murderous terrorists. R’ Yaakov Kamenetsky, cited in Be Ikvei HaTzon of R’ Hershel Schachter, paskened that since we are at war, any large ransom (even just money) will strengthen the enemy and is therefore forbidden.

  5. I would like to hear what R chaim kanievsky or R elyashiv shlita have to sy on this matter. What does halacha say regarding this exact case? They are the poskim of our Dor
    Let’s go to the top and I would like to hear what we are being told instead of letting our emotions get in the way

  6. I would like to hear what R chaim kanievsky or R elyashiv shlita have to sy on this matter. What does halacha say regarding this exact case? They are the poskim of our Dor. Let’s go to the top and I would like to hear what we are being told instead of letting our emotions get in the way

  7. To 9 & 10, and to the rest of the Oilem: it should be pointed out that none of the Rebbes or Gedolim have said anything. either way, its a very hard call, to those that have suffered because of the attacks, of the ROZCHIM that are being released and to the parents of Gilad, if he wouldn’t be released, one wonders if the shoe would be on the other foot how one would feel if I can get my child back with the release of all those prisoners. A very hard call, as we know only three opposed this release in the Knesset, that tells you something about the saving of one soldier is what they were thinking. I don’t know

  8. Chaim,

    R’ Ovadia Yosef,shlita, does favor prisoner exchanges and has paskened in favor of practically everyprisoner exchange initiated by the Israeli government, despite the legitimate concerns raised by the poskim I cited above. He views this in terms of immediate threat to life vs. potential threat to life; the hostage soldier faces an immediate threat to hisnm life, while society as a whole faces the possible threat to life posed by the reelease of convicted terrorists. The Mishna in Gittin (45a) deals with pidyon shevuyim and raises the question of whether we pay above the value of the hostage for society’s benefit; the Gemara asks whether the benefit to society is deterrence of future kidnapping, the reduction of burden on the community. In this case, releasing Shalit or any other Tzahal POW constitutes a burden on society as a whole, which will now have to deal with having 1000 rodfim on the loose.

    R’ Kamenetzky’s psak was issued when R’ Hutner, zt’l, was kidnapped; he paskened that appeasing the terrorists would only result in more kidnappings, because Israel is in a constant state of war (he says that the heter of Tosfos to free when there is immediate threat to life of the hostage,which is what R’ Yosef is basing himself on, only applies in times of peace).