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Religious Serving in Israeli Police


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Iyyar 17, 5781
Is it Halachically ok to serve in Border Police in Israel in mostly Jewish areas (like modiin) on shabbat? The whole process of stopping cars on Shabbat and letting them go again sounds like a big case of "placing a stumbling block" before others, causing them to sin.
If you are considering doing so, you should personally speak to Rav Rami Brachyahu, the Chief Rabbi of the Israeli police, and he will explain to you the many complex halachic factors involved, which were clarified extensively during the time of Chief Rabbi Herzog, and again during the period of the religious Roni Alshich, when he was Chief of Police, and wanted to draft more religious policemen. In general, one of the major issues, especially in Mishmar Gag'vul, is that even though they act as police, they also deal extensively with general national security, protecting Jews from the largely hateful Arab population, who often steal davka from the Jewish populated cities like Modi'in, which are close to Arab towns. Most (!) of the crime in Israel is perpetrated by Arabs, despite what they comprise only 20% of the population, and their general disdain and scorn for the Jewish State and her laws, have both criminal and national ramifications, regarding the mitzva of Jewish rule of Eretz Yisrael (Bamidbar 33, 53). Accordingly, there is halachic justification for many police activities on Shabbat, based upon the halachic principle that if the enemy sees that he can steal, he may eventually also come to kill (Shulchan Aruch, Or. Chaim 330, 6). It's much more complex, but that's in a nutshell, as this framework permits. B'hatzlacha!
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