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Free The Hostages! Bring Them Home!

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Aug 5, 2008

maybe some things they did back in biblical days is relevant today!

Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, one of the leading Rabbis in Israel today and Chief Rabbi of Ramat Gan, has a problem with the way the recent hostage deal went down. He says that the government withholding information from the public as to the status of the soldiers, just so it can more easily pass the deal it was working on, is very serious deception. To put the citizens at risk so as to allow freedom to terrorists, most of whom will continue to be involved in terror is practically criminal.

If there was no knowledge as to their status then there is more reason to allow it, even when there is a certain risk to the public. After all, Karnit Goldwasser was facing a life of uncertainty and being an agunah - to release her from that burden, Rav Ariel says, the added element of risk is still worthwhile. However, if the government really knew the fate of her husband, she should have been told and she would not be an agunah, then the hostage trade would not have been necessary at the price it commanded.

To resolve this problem in future situations that should, chas v'shalom, arise, Rav Ariel has proposed we go back to the system King David used when sending soldiers out to battle. The soldiers of David would write a get and give it to their wife on condition that if they did not return from battle, they would retroactively be divorced. Then if the fate of the soldier would be unknown, she would not be an agunah, but would be a divorcee.

Rav Ariel has proposed that all soldiers going out to the front lines should give their wives the get of Dovid, or a get on condition, and that would resolve any future incidents and prevent wives from being agunahs.

So far his proposal has been rejected for reasons of possibly hurting morale. Yet Rav Ariel says that just as soldiers give fingerprints and DNA and other things "just in case" for identification purposes, when joining the army, so they can also give a get and it should not harm their morale.

I like the idea. I find great appeal in taking things from our history, biblical history, and finding ways to implement them as solutions today.


  1. Forget hurting morale - if a soldier knew that his non-return would leave his wife an aguna, he may not take as many risks as he should. The use of such a get may actually motivate soldiers to focus on their tasks.

    Another idea I thought of (but nobody asked me, so I kept it to myself), is for soldiers to prepare a document stating that if they are captured and/or presumed dead, that no deal be made to retrieve their body. As a bonus, if this becomes widespread, there would be less of an impetus for terrorists to capture soldiers, and even if they do, no tactical reason to kill them.

  2. RAFI:

    israel needs a king david today


    about 2-3 months ago there were media reports that a group of soldiers signed a petition to this effect

  3. Another example of what an avla it was for the charedim to have blocked Rav Ariel's appointment as Rav HaRashi.

    B'Davka because he's a real leader and a real talmid chacham, he was too great a threat to their power base.

  4. I don't understand this get - would there be a timescale for it's use? ie. You have to wait 6 months without hearing anything?
    What if Gilad Shalit had been married - would his wife have that get now??
    Who would decide when the get becomes effective?

  5. I guess they would work out the details... those are technical issues.

  6. wow, that's a great idea... i've wondered why people don't do that anymore.

  7. As long as cohanim are being drafted there's a big issue: Others can remarry their ex-wives if the get goes through and then they are released: Cohanim cannot.

  8. I think that Rav Goren ztz'l disusses this in Meishiv Milhamah.


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