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Dec 26, 2016

did the UN vote cause chilul shabbos in Israel?

Minister Yaakov Litzman registered a complaint with PM Netanyahu about the response by various ministers in the Israeli government to the UN vote on Shabbos. Litzman was perturbed that the ministers could not wait until after Shabbos was over to issue their responses but did so immediately, on Shabbos, thus desecrating the Shabbos in a governmental position, unnecessarily.

Unfortunately the article in Behadrei provides no response from Netanyahu - neither saying he will make sure it does not happen again nor to the tune of explaining to Litzman why the responses were necessary and his complaint is unfounded.

The only response brought is from Minister Yisrael Katz who explained that this was a dramatic decision dealing with Israel's international standing and affecting security issues and it required an immediate response through multiple channels.

How important is an immediate response to a United Nations vote? It seems to me to be pretty important, but does it require responses from 4 or 5 different government ministers? Perhaps just the PMO, the Defense Minister and some sort of strategic, intelligence or other security-related position should be authorized to issue such statements on shabbos.

What do you think - is this a good complaint or was he overreaching and making a mountain out of a molehill?

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  1. "making a mountain out of a molehill"

  2. To add: You're attacked on Shabbat, you defend on Shabbat, and in a way which is at least proportionate to the attack. This is appropriate self-defense, and isn't chillul shabbat at all!

  3. If you ask me, it would be better in general not to react right away to the shtuyot of the UN - let them see that we don't pay too much attention to them.

  4. Ambassador Yehuda Avner z"l (author of "The Prime Ministers" told the story of a political crisis between Kissinger and Rabin during the negotiations after the Yom Kippur War. The crisis came to a head one Friday afternoon, and Avner, then advisor to Rabin, was asked by Rabin to prepare a statement for the international press to counter Kissinger's. Avner apologized that Shabbat was coming and he couldn't. Later he asked the advice of a rabbi (he didn't say who, but Avner was Orthodox), and the rabbi said that he should have stayed and worked on Shabbat in order to minimize the damage to Israel by countering Kissinger's statement as soon as possible.
    Safek pikuach nefesh is docheh Shabbat, no matter how many people try to perform the pikuach nefesh. This is not the place to complain.

  5. I vote with making a mountain out of a molehill. Sometimes we need to do what needs to be done despite the technical "chillul Shabbat."

    Incidentally, I recommend the Avner book "The Prime Ministers."


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