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Census

Rabbi Yoel LiebermanAdar II 25, 5771
149
Question
Unfortunately I am still living in England and they are having a National Census. Am I right in believeing that I can refuse to participate as a census is against Halacha and my Jewish religion prevents me?
Answer
Although by our upbringing we have ingrained in us not to count or be counted, nonetheless under certain conditions for particular circumstances it is permitted One of the great poskim of our generation, Rav Eliezer Valdenberg zt"l (in his Responsa Tzitz Eliezer (שו"ת ציץ אליעזר חלק ז סימן ג) wrote a very detailed discourse on the issue in 1961 in regard to the census in Israel. After very long deliberation he reached the conclusion that it is permitted, part of the reasons being that it is not a head count, the figures are given in writing, the people are not counted while in front of those counting, and the counting is not for naught or curiosity but for needs of the State. Rav Yaacov Ariel Shlit"a, the chief Rabbi of Ramat Gan, in the Hebrew counterpart of this website permits the census based on the answer of Rav Eliezer Valdenberg zt"l. Regardless of the census, you don't have to unfortunately live in England, you may fortunately join us in living Eretz Yisrael.
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