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Don't pay heed to rabbis when it comes to matters of the state, Bar-Ilan University President Moshe Kaveh urged the national religious public yesterday. "The rabbis do not have authority in the public and political arena," he said.

In an interview with Haaretz, Bar-Ilan's president for the past decade said that "religion should denounce rabbis who gave rise to a delusional vision, false messianism and statements such as, `I'm praying that the disengagement will not take place and therefore it won't.'"

Kaveh did not mention names, but harshly slammed rabbis who had called on soldiers to refuse disengagement orders, and said the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank would not go ahead. Former chief rabbis Avraham Shapira and Mordechai Eliyahu were among those who went public with such calls, and therefore, Kaveh's statements can be viewed as a direct attack on religious Zionism's two most important spiritual leaders.

"These radical rabbis suffered a resounding defeat - a knockout in sport's language," Kaveh said, adding he believed the pullout had gone ahead with minimal violence, "because the religious public has internalized the lesson of [former prime minister Yitzhak] Rabin's murder."

The full interview appears in tomorrow's Haaretz Magazine.