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Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Geneva Initiative: To Burn or Not to Burn?

Arutz Sheva: As Israeli homes throughout the country began to receive copies of the so-called "Geneva Initiative", some people have elected to, as the mailing requests, "tell us your opinion". But they have done so in a very public way.

In Kiryat Malachi yesterday (Tuesday), a group of yeshiva students belonging to the Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidic sect gathered several copies of the "Geneva Initiative" document together and set them alight.

Chabad spokesman Menachem Brod stated that, while the booklet belongs in the trash, there were no instructions given to burn the pamphlets, nor does the Chabad leadership approve of or endorse the actions of the Kiryat Malachi students.

However, Kiryat Motzkin Chief Rabbi David Druckman announced shortly thereafter that the "Geneva Initiative" booklets should indeed be burned. Rabbi Druckman, a distinguished Chabad rabbi in Israel, said that his statement is in accordance with Torah law, such pamphlets are backed and supported by the "anti-Semites of the world."

Furthermore, Rabbi Druckman drew a parallel to calls by former Chief Rabbi Herzog, who "did not hesitate to publicly rend the British White Paper document [limiting Jewish immigration during the pre-State Mandate period]."

Hundreds of other Israeli citizens are taking part in a grass-roots initiative of their own and have marked the "Geneva Initiative" booklet mailed to their homes with the words, "Junk Mail - Return to Sender". One eyewitness from Ginot Shomron described a huge sack of booklets so marked waiting to be delivered back to the "Geneva Initiative" Headquarters at Beit Amot Mishpat, a central Tel Aviv office building that also houses the offices of former prime ministers Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Shamir.