Neturei Karta Says No Mitzvah to Get Back Shalit, Rav Elyashiv Says There Is

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rav-elyashiv2 “The mitzvah of redeeming prisoners does not apply to captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit because he does not keep the mitzvos and observe the Torah,” claimed members of the extremist group Neturei Karta in Israel. According to them, this is “a simple halachic truth”  and that “this is the Torah and it will not be changed.”

A letter titled “The truth must be told” sent out by one of its most prominent activists claimed: “Gilad Shalit, who does not observe the Torah and the commandments – and the recent video informed us where he eats (at restaurants in the Galilee under Druze sector Badatz kosher certification), and that he even publicly violates the Shabbos and does not lay tefillin, is not at all ‘achicha – your brother.’ There is no obligation to redeem him or to rescue him according to Jewish law. Shabbos must not be violated in the case of saving his life.

 “Unfortunately, around the national calf called Gilad Shalit, everyone blindly dances. It does not occur to them that, with all the pain and sorrow and ‘the baby taken prisoner’, there is halacha first and foremost,” wrote the author.

The Neturei Karta letter explained that this does not mean that Shalit should not be rescued at all, because there is a chance that he will become religious. However, “if Gilad is released in order to continue violating the Shabbos, eating in Druze restaurants, and not laying tefillin, etc., then there is no mitzvah here, and certainly not the mitzvah of redeeming prisoners,” claimed the letter.

‘Returning Gilad One of Most Important Mitzvos’

The Association of Friends of the Sons of Torah for Gilad Shalit said in response that the posek hador, Maran Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, has said unequivocally that the mitzvah – one of the most important in the Torah – applies to Gilad Shalit in Gaza.

 “It was so clear to him, as it was to other rabbonim from all the denominations that we contacted, that he didn’t even get into a halachic deliberation on the issue. A Jewish soldier who has dedicated his life for the entire nation of Israel is observing one of the biggest mitzvos. It is outrageous ingratitude to claim that there is no obligation to redeem him.”

The members mentioned that “Rav Eliashiv, who is the unchallenged leader of the charedi public, is unbiased to any side,” and implied that Neturei Karta is afflicted by foreign considerations. 

 The charedi association of Shalit affairs published announcements in charedi newspapers before Yom Tov calling upon the haredi population to increase Torah study, acts of loving kindness, and tefillah for Gilad Shalit “until our outcries reach He who resides in the heights and will take him out of captivity to freedom, from darkness to light.”

Under the title “Responsible for one another also on the Day of Judgment,” it was written: “At the start of the awesome and great Day of Judgment, we come to ask our brothers, all of the House of Israel, for captured soldier Gilad son of Aviva Shalit who has been in cruel captivity for more than three years immediate mercy.

 “This generation’s great and enlightened have already pronounced the magnitude of the obligation on each and every person to pray for him, because it is an issue of saving life and redeeming captives.”

{Yair Israel/Ynet}


  1. The Neturei Karta are wrong simply because the second and third generation of Zionist influenced children probably have a Din of Tinok Shenishba. However, it seems the Zionist governments in the past three years agree with the Neturei karta position; they haven’t done too much to redeem Gilad Shalit. Last year Olmert made a war with Hamas in which he could have destroyed it and possibly used military leverage to free Shalit. Instead, he does a half baked job, pulls out just before Obama takes office (I wonder what that infers) and turns the war into a massive international propaganda snafu!

  2. So if I read this correctly, there is not necessarily a mitzvah of pidyon shivuyim for a Jew simply because he (she) is a Jew.
    I assume NKniks are now davening that they never need support of others in this arena since it is not inevitable that Jews around the world will reach out to them or their families (i.e. family members who are not in the geder of mosrim, etc., trapped in their situation due to no fault of their own).

    Forthcoming clarifications will be interesting.

  3. Rambam Matanos Ani’im 8:14. The Olam should understand, the Neturei Karta are not stone-hearted people with crazy beliefs. For the most part, they are fine Jews. Only, they indeed go overboard in method and style of demonstrating their opposition to Zionism in their attempt to make their point. I oppose secular Zionism as much as they do, but I feel the best method to fight it is by Torah Judaism demonstrating its strength through harmony and brotherhood between all stripes of observant Jews, and Kiruv efforts directed toward non-observant Jews.

  4. why post at all about these idiots? the less attention given to them are better. i Dont know if we are obligated on saving Neturay Karta on Shabbos.

  5. According to the Halacha Pidyon Shvuim, the Niturei Karta’s are right.

    But there is another thing called “Ma Hu Rachum Af Attah Rachum”. That, pretains even to a non-yiddishe child crying that he was taken away from his mother and wants to go back, you must help him.

    But then comes the question why do we add “L’Choile Amecha” in Ovinu Malkeinu, when there are so many non-yiddishe children crying in pain.

  6. Can’t understand how Avraham Avenu put the lives of 318 talmidim to go out and fight the 4 KINGS to save LOT…. not exactly the paragam of shimiras hamitzvos (i guess if he is a brother inlaw the halacha is different).

    The halachas of Ahavas Yisroel and Nosei Bol Chavericha may not be the strongest issue in the NK idealogy.

  7. You can listen to an interview with the chief rabbi hersch of neturei karta on kol haolam who says it was not sent by their organization but by some teenager

  8. Acheiu kol bais yisroel hanesunim batzara ubashivya hamokom yeracheim aleihem veyotziem mitzara lirvachah oobifrat gilad ben aviva ,vehabacharim beyapan,hashta bagala ooviZman kariv venomar oomain. And a refuah shlaimah fot nk.

  9. “A Jewish soldier who has dedicated his life for the entire nation of Israel is observing one of the biggest mitzvos. It is outrageous ingratitude to claim that there is no obligation to redeem him.”

    What a load of rubbish. There’s a big difference between a Jewish soldier and an Israeli one. 99.999% of the Israeli army is pure koifer. They keep nothing and believe in nothing but avodah zarah of the Israeli govt.

    You’re not allowed to put your life in danger and Hashem hasn’t commanded any war. The Israeli army gives back every Arab they catch and every piece of land they capture. What are they “fighting” for?

    This risk of life is totally ussur.


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