Orthodox Union Responds to Comments Regarding Gilad Shalit

Posted on October 19, 2009 In Press Releases

Recent public comments by purportedly Orthodox Jews have asserted that Cpl. Gilad Shalit, an IDF soldier kidnapped and held in captivity over three years by Hamas terrorists, is not worth rescuing because he is not observant of Jewish religious practices.

In response, the leadership of the Orthodox Union, North America’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, stated:

“Two of the foundations of Judaism through the ages have been the principles of kindheartedness (rachmanut) and of mutual responsibility for other Jews (areivut). One of Judaism’s commandments (mitzvot) is redeeming captives (pidyon shvuyim). Thus, we are shocked to learn that anyone claiming to observe Jewish law would be so coldhearted and complacent regarding the capture of anyone, let alone a soldier doing his duty to protect and defend innocent life. The ruling reported in the name of the eminent contemporary leader of Torah Jewry in Israel, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, that the mitzvah of pidyon shvuyim indeed applied to the case of Gilad Shalit makes clear that assertions to the contrary are a perverse misrepresentation of Torah precepts.

It is our great hope and sincere prayer that Gilad Shalit is swiftly and safely returned to his people and his family, and that all people of good will do all in their power to secure his release.”