'Disengagement rabbi' pulled from conference at behest of Gaza evacuees
Chief Military Rabbi Israel Weiss was slated to take part in a special panel dealing with the national religious community’s obedience limitations.
The organizers of the Jerusalem Conference to be held this month have canceled the participation of former Chief Military Rabbi Israel Weiss, following threats from Gaza evacuees, sources told Haaretz.
Weiss, who had served as chief military rabbi during the pullout from the Gaza Strip, was slated to take part in a special panel dealing with the national religious community’s obedience limitations.
But after the conference program was released, settler leaders pressured the organizers not to allow Weiss to take part in the panel, threatening to demonstrate and disrupt the conference.
The conference management revoked Weiss’ participation in an emergency meeting and recently distributed a new program without his name.
“We thought after five and a half years the wound had healed, but apparently it hasn’t. We’re having the conference to enjoy ourselves and don’t want shouting and blasphemy,” conference executive director Dudu Saada told Haaretz.
The Jerusalem Conference is the religious Zionist community’s most important event. A number of MKs and ministers, including Aryeh Eldad, Danny Danon, David Rotem and Michael Ben-Ari, are scheduled to attend, as well as Israel Defense Forces spokesman Brig. Avi Benayahu.
Since the disengagement, Weiss has been boycotted and harassed by the national religious community. He was attacked, demonstrations were held outside his home and threatening letters were sent to him.
“I became an enemy of the people,” Weiss wrote in a book he published recently. “For months we couldn’t enter our home safely.”
Referring to the national religious community, he wrote, “[it is] not a handful or fringe [groups] but swarms of people looking for blood, Jewish blood.”
Weiss is abroad currently and was unavailable for comment.