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Lying to get to Israel


Rabbi Jonathan Blass

30 Shevat 5763
Birthright (the organization that is sending people on trips to Israel for free) is apparently starving for people to go. Many of my friends who have been to Israel before were told by trip organizers to "lie" on the application form. Even though the organization only gives trips to those who have never gone on a formal trip, the organizers reason that instead of sending empty trips, they should at least send somebody. This leads to my dilemma. I am planning Aliyah, and would like to go on a pilot trip, both for vacation and planning. Getting airline tickets paid for would be really nice. But I would feel terrible being in Israel on a lie. However, while not "official" policy, it seems even trip organizers are encouraging this "white lie", as the seats will just go unused. However, I’m sure not everybody in the organization agrees with this defacto lie. What do you think of this?
One is not allowed to lie to receive a benefit he would not have received had he told the truth. Even if some of the organizers tell you that it’s OK you would be an accomplice to their cheating the system. The laws of Lashon Hara don't allow you to believe that they are asking people to lie - only to consider the possibility that this may be the case and inquire how you are required to act in such circumstances.
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