(When the Transportation Minister, Moshe Katzav, was introduced to the Rebbe, the Rebbe shook his hand — continuing to hold it for the entire duration of the conversation — and blessed him as follows):
Within the realm of your position, you should merit to solidify the bond between the Nation of Israel, the Torah of Israel, and G-d, so that these three should never be separated ...
I recently heard a strange and frightening rumor regarding talks and impending decisions by the Israeli government, concerning surrendering parts of the Land of Israel. They are currently discussing a five year plan [Madrid talks] which they describe as “autonomy”; In truth, however, the semantics are meaningless, and it makes no difference what they call the issue. The plain truth is that these talks and affairs fall under the explicitly stated Torah prohibition of “not ingratiating yourselves to the nations,” which includes the prohibition of ceding any part of the Land of Israel to the nations of the world. These talks will eventually lead to the actual surrender of parts of the Land of Israel. Thus, the very act of holding such talks constitutes a rejection of G-d and His Torah, of the Land of Israel and the holiness of the Land of Israel.
Discussions of autonomy plans are just a prelude to surrendering parts of the Land of Israel — and not just small territories — but rather large expansive parts such as Judea, Samaria, Gaza, Hebron, and Jerusalem etc. This involves life-and-death issues! As has been stated, it is irrelevant what the Jews think or say, and how they interpret it. What matters is how the gentiles understand it. They interpret the plan as one eventually leading to the surrender of parts of the Land of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state.
You understand Arabic — so go and ask the Arabs who live there what their intention is in discussing a five year autonomy plan. You will see that they will tell you that their intention is that they will actually be given parts of the Land of Israel for the purpose of establishing a Palestinian state. It automatically follows that it is totally irrelevant how the Jews interpret it, because what matters is how the gentiles view the issue.
The very act of discussing autonomy plans is a desecration of G-d’s Name and of holiness. The fact that there are individual Jews in the Land of Israel who do not keep Torah and mitzvos relates specifically to desecrating their personal lives. But here we are discussing a situation in which the government of Israel will publicly declare war against G-d and His Torah.
As to the explanation [of the Likud] that the only matter under discussion is limited self-rule, under which the Arabs will be in charge of their own education and agriculture etc. but not foreign affairs and security, and that this is only a trial period ... these are all matters of diplomacy. I shall not argue with you on this, as it seems that you understand more about diplomacy than I. But here we are not discussing diplomacy, but the surrender of parts of the Land of Israel. The very fact that negotiation on this is taking place is a desecration of G-d’s Name, and in opposition to G-d and His Torah. It then makes absolutely no difference what kind of diplomatic icing the Jews put on top of it.
The reason given for these talks is that there is a mass immigration from Russia, and Israel therefore needs America’s loan guarantees etc., and we must take into account what the American government will say. This consideration is the first step to giving away land. The proof of this is, that the Likud themselves state, that the reason they are doing all this is the pressure from the nations. So, afterwards, when there is even more pressure, they will capitulate further, ad infinitum. We have seen this in the past: buckling under pressure brings more pressure.”
(Minister Katzav remarked that in the previous year President Bush had sent a letter opposing a Palestinian state, but a year later Bush simply wrote that he was not in favor of a Palestinian state, so we see here a change in his stance. The Rebbe responded):
And we see in which direction the change is heading. It is unfathomable that a Jew who believes in G-d and His Torah could be a party to such actions, or could add his signature to such an arrangement. Likewise, it is preferable that the [Shamir] government should fall and there should not be a Jewish government, since the only reason they are even discussing these plans is because of pressure from the nations (as they themselves admit). If so, it would be preferable that they establish — G-d forbid — a non-Jewish government in the Land of Israel, which will decide what to do with the Land of Israel. At least then there will not be Jews signing such agreements!
You certainly know Mr. Menachem Begin, who at the outset did not agree with the Camp David ideas, and was strongly opposed to them. But eventually he began to make compromises, and from what we hear today, he has great remorse over having given up a part of the Land of Israel.
Had people who do not believe in G-d been responsible for this, we could understand this. But that the signature for abandoning parts of the Land of Israel should be from from Jews who believe in G-d — this is a desecration of His Name.
Shamir believes in G-d and in the holiness of the Land of Israel — so it is completely mind-boggling that he should be the one to agree to negotiate on a plan whose eventual outcome is the surrendering of parts of the Land of Israel.
Security of the Land of Israel comes from G-d alone. If they acted accordingly and stood firmly as the hour dictates, there would not be any reason to worry about the safety of the Land of Israel.
Meanwhile they only speak of a five year interim period, because they are afraid to openly state that they want to give up parts of the Land of Israel. But their true intentions are clear. According to my estimation, Shamir himself knows this — and better than I.
Shamir has many merits in connection with the Land of Israel, going back to the time of the Irgun, when the gentiles had control over the Land of Israel. Shamir fought against this, but now it is he who speaks of giving away parts of the Land of Israel!
In my opinion, what practically must be done now is for Shamir to immediately halt the decision and negotiations on autonomy.
I always fought for a Shamir government, and I did everything within my power to establish a government with Shamir as its head. However, if they continue in this direction of negotiations, then I — Menachem Mendel — will be the first to fight with all of my forcefulness and might against Shamir, so that his government will fall.
Until today, only Mr. Shimon Peres has stood against Shamir’s government. But if Shamir continues in this direction negotiating about autonomy, then I too will stand against the government of Shamir.
If Shamir is unable to withstand the pressure of the goyim, let him publicly declare that he cannot withstand the pressure, and is therefore unable to continue as Prime Minister.
As I have said many times in the past, a shamir (in the Bible) is a worm which cuts through hard stone — so let Shamir release a shamir into the decision to speak about these matters of giving up parts of the Land of Israel. Then this decision, and all thought of such matters, will be cut of and totally nullified, ceasing to exist.
(Minister Katzav then said: “The Rebbe Shlita is the one who established the present government, and we would like the continued blessing of the Rebbe for this government, as it will add holiness to the government.” The Rebbe replied):
When Shamir will add holiness to the Land of Israel, then he will gain the strength to stand against all the pressures.
(Minister Moshe Katzav: “Shamir will surely be strong.” The Rebbe replied):
Until now he has been strong, and we must therefore see to it that they immediately cease all talk about autonomy.
You will surely relate all this to Mr. Shamir, and not be angry with me for placing such an unpleasant task upon you. But relay this with all of the forcefulness with which I have said it to you. I apologize for speaking such harsh words. In truth, this matter needs to be discussed at greater length, but there is no time now to go into it further (thousands of Jews and non-Jews were waiting in line in the cold for a precious moment with the Rebbe).
May there be only good news to relate, and may they only discuss the holiness of the Land of Israel and Am Yisrael. May there be good news.
- (Back to text) See former Prime Minister Itzchak Shamir’s 1995 interview with Rabbi Chaim Dalfin “I never imagined that they would come to such decisions and such actions on the ground. No one imagined they would dare do such acts against the interests of the people of Israel. Not just against the dreams, the aspirations, the halachos, but even against the daily interests, the security interests of our people here. There isn’t anything which could explain these positions. We cannot understand what is the motivation of Rabin or Peres. After all, we have not been defeated (G-d forbid!) in war. We have been victorious all the time. We are under absolutely no pressure... We are going to lose the Golan Heights. I don’t know why .... They will get to the shores of the Kinneret... As far as Yehudah and Shomron, and Gaza, they are the cradle of our people. Hebron and all the other places. Why do we have to leave?...” (See the book Conversations with the Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson, JEC Publishing Inc.)
When Geulah Cohen said to Shamir in the Knesset “Even the Lubavitcher Rebbe says we should not be negotiating with the Arabs over Eretz Yisrael, Shamir replied “I respect the Lubavitcher Rebbe ... but in this matter he is entirely mistaken.” Shamir’s comment to Rabbi Dalfin that “no-one imagined...” is clearly incorrect. The Rebbe not only imagined, but clearly warned all relevant Prime Ministers that discussions of autonomy would lead to the surrender of lands that Shamir describes as acts against the daily interests, the security interests of our people here.
- (Back to text) The Shamir government unexpectedly fell shortly after the Rebbe’s warning, after Shamir called for early elections.