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Update: A Communal Leader on the R’ Telsner and Groner Affair

March 16, 2014 – 1:42 pm76 Comments

By Alex Fein:

hypocrisy2Update: An communal leader, who wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, submitted the following questions to Galus in the hope that they might elicit a response from the Chabad rabbinate:

“Might I suggest that Galus asks what is, in my mind, the key question on the issue of Chabad and Zionism, and on the issue of Chabad rabbis of modern orthodox shuls?

The key question is:
The fundamental credo of Religious Zionism is that the State of Israel, that came into being on 5 Iyar 5708, was a blessing from God and, despite its imperfections, something for which we must give thanks. Did the Rebbe, and the Rebbe before him (who was the leader of Chabad in 1948) accept this view or disagree with it? 
And the related questions are:
And hence do Chabad rabbis agree or disagree with it? And hence are they religious Zionists, in the sense that their congregants understand?
Anything about “we have a network of institutions in Israel” or “we give Mishloach Manot in Israel” or “many Chabadniks serve in the IDF” or even “we are thankful that Israel is in Jewish hands” are utter irrelevancies and deliberate obfuscations.
They have got away without answering this question, or have managed to answer alternative questions instead, because no-one has pressed them on this specific point. Maybe, in light of the present furore and the line you’re taking, this is what Galus needs to do.”

***

The original article:

Over the past few days, a furore has erupted. Sam Tatarka, Rabbi Smukler, and Ian Waller have joined a chorus of condemnation of Rabbis Zvi Telsner and Chaim Tzvi Groner.

The rabbis have issued a public backdown regarding their having given written support to an anti-conscription rally organised by Adass.

The backdown is almost as appalling as their initial support for anti-state groups. While neither rabbi has the fortitude to stand by his convictions, both indulge in weasel words that are obviously a response to the fury that has spread throughout the religious community.

I’ll republish their letter with my own commentary within their text.

[Rabbis Telsner and Groner]: “Earlier this week we were presented with a letter on which to add our signatures concerning a communal Tefilah gathering in relation to the proposed conscription laws in Israel.  Unfortunately the letter also included a negative inference to the Israeli government which we deeply regret and from which we would like to emphatically disassociate ourselves.”

[Alex Fein]: What has happened in the interim to cause this, “deep regret?” Is it public opprobrium? Without such condemnation, would their joining anti-Zionists in support of a movement that demands money from the state while refusing to acknowledge its right to exist, still stand?

Are the rabbis’ halachic opinions similarly flexible? If they deliver an opinion that their community dislikes, will they express similar “regret” and “disassociate [sic]” themselves from it – emphatically?

I find it hard to believe they would have put their names to a letter they had both failed to read, so at some point, they must have thought it a sterling idea to throw their lot in with the anti-Zionists.

This is not about whether one can justifiably criticise the Israeli government, as some have suggested. Communal disquiet has emerged from the company these Rabbis keep when they put their name to such a protest.

And the argument that we need learning as much as we need security is a complete furphy. No one anywhere is trying to prevent learning. No one is even suggesting that haredim take up guns and fight. They are simply being asked – along with the rest of the Israeli population – to engage in national service.

[Rabbis Telsner and Groner] “We, and the Yeshivah Centre, strongly and proudly support Israel. We have a heartfelt and enduring love for and commitment to Eretz Yisroel, its people and its heroic Defense Forces.”

[Alex Fein] The Rabbis say they support Israel. Why then do they join forces with those who seek the destruction of the state while gladly accepting government handouts?

The rabbis state they have a “love for and commitment to Eretz Yisroel,” but what about Medinat Yisrael? Do they support the state? If not, what does that mean for their de facto spiritual leadership of the community? What does it mean for the scores of Chabad rabbis who lead our congregations who take their cues from Rabbis Telsner and Groner. 80% of us are Zionists of one stripe or another. Are our rabbis? If not, why not?

[Rabbis Telsner and Groner] “A large number of our graduates and indeed Chabad Chassidim from Israel and around the world, serve in the Israeli Army and choose to make Aliya and live in our Holy Land. We have the highest regard for the bravery and sacrifice of our Israeli soldiers. Chabad chassidim, including leading activists, communal leaders and educators around the world proudly serve in the IDF. In addition, thousands of Chabad youth and adults support our soldiers on the field and in their bases on a daily basis.”

[Alex Fein]: So what? Does that in any way ameliorate the rabbi’s signing, then disavowing the flyer? That some of their students support the State is lovely. Do the rabbis have the temerity to suggest that they deserve some personal kudos for the bravery of their students?

[Rabbis Telsner and Groner]: “This week in Israel, Chabad will be delivering tens of thousands of mishloach monos to our troops throughout the land, giving up time with their own families in order to bring cheer, encouragement and hope to our forces, by celebrating with them the joy of Purim.”

[Alex Fein]: What on earth does this have to do with that appalling flyer and their support of it?

Moreover, the above statement is utterly disingenuous. Should we not expect religious Israeli citizens to support the men and women who defend them? Should we not expect religious Israeli citizens to celebrate the festivals with members of the armed forces? Only failure to do so would be worthy of comment. It is patently ridiculous to expect non-Chabad Jews anywhere to applaud Chabad Israelis for engaging in basic religious decency.

[Rabbis Telsner and Groner]: “The conscription issues are highly complex.”

[Alex Fein]: Indeed, these issues are sufficiently complex that they should give one pause before signing simplistic and damaging flyers.

[Rabbis Telsner and Groner]: “We hope and pray that Jewish people around the world can come together and unite for the safety and security of Eretz Yisroel, its noble defence forces and its people.”

[Alex Fein]: I’m always suspicious of calls for unity. They usually come from people whose divisive behaviour causes harsh criticism. If unity were really uppermost on the rabbis’ list of priorities – and not a thoroughly hypocritical means of misdirection – they would not have signed the flyer in the first place.

[Rabbis Telsner and Groner]: “With heartfelt prayers for a true and lasting peace in our holyland and around the world, and for the Geulah Shlemah.”

[Alex Fein]: Rabbis Telsner’s and Groner’s actions appall many religious Jews, including many Chabad members.

These men are senior spiritual leaders of a movement that dominates Melbourne’s religious life. In many areas, secular Zionist, and even religious Zionists have divested themselves of religious responsibility and bestowed on Chabad custodianship over Melbourne’s Jewish future.

 

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76 Comments »

  • Norman says:

    I’ve got another question for you, Alex.

    Why was the text ok when Groner and Telsner signed it?

    Nothing was altered afterwards.

    Hmm?

    Could it be because of rich Zionist donors geting pissed off?

  • Really? says:

    Dear Alex

    I’ll be honest from the beginning – I didn’t even make it the whole way through you post, because it didn’t take me long to get the strong impression that you have a particular slant on this whole issue that was driving your post.

    That being said, I have just a couple questions for you:

    1. Why can someone not simply admit a mistake and (at least) be recognised for having done so? Has no other leader of any sort ever said something after significant consideration that they later regret (despite nothing actually changing) and apologise for and retract? Are you so perfect that you have never said anything incorrect (the words you put into Gavin Queit’s mouth regarding the Rabbi Glick issue recently come to mind)? If, as I assume, you aren’t perfect (just like the rest of us) – when you make a mistake do you apologise or you just brazenly push ahead lest you look weak or flexible?

    2. It’s entirely within your right to disagree with these or any other Rabbis, but we have a strong and diverse community which means you have a lot of room for choice as to which sections of it you choose to identify with (or not). That being the case, how can you complain about them representing you or the 80% of the community that are Zionists? If you don’t feel they represent you, don’t affiliate with them. If you feel you don’t have a choice (i.e. because most of the Rabbis in Australia are Chabbad and effectively fall under these Rabbis) then either you are a relatively lone voice and the majority of the 80% disagree with you because they haven’t made the effort to appoint leaders that do appropriately represent their views or you and the rest of the 80% should be taking more control of your commmunities and putting in what is required to appoint the appropriate leadership.

    A leader of any sort (save dictators and the like) is only as significant as the group that they lead. Either you’re very wrong about the 80% or the 80% need to take a good hard look at themselves and take some initiative in building the community and leadership they feel is most appropriate.

  • Steven says:

    Really, I think the problem is that a very controversial petition was signed by the heads of Chabad in Melbourne and then the apology, demonstrating either a lack of thought or fickleness.

  • Menachem says:

    Alex, you have sensationalised this entire thing way beyond it’s worth.
    All of a sudden because two rabbis have signed a petition, the entire Chabad movement here has become responsible for it.
    Theirs were two of seven signatures! and all the attention is directed just to these two?
    I agree, they shouldn’t have signed, but they did, and soon after, realised that they shouldn’t have, so is there no room for them to retract?
    We all make mistakes! It is human to err, even rabbis. So why can’t we give them a little latitude?
    Perhaps this is just another opportunity to bash Chabad. Some just relish this.

    Both Mizrachi and Chabad are involved in educating our children and giving them Torah values.
    Isn’t the motto of BA Torah Ve’avodah? Dracheha darkei noam vechol netivateha shalom?
    Time to take a step back and look at what this is doing to the community.
    Do we really need this rift and division within us?

  • Yaron says:

    Menachem,
    1. There were indeed 7 signatures, but I would imagine there would not be many Zionists giving to Adass, and even if they were it is expected from R’Beck, R’Donenbaum etc to be anti-Zionists.
    The story is that the Chabad rabbis have hidden their real views from public, and when it turns out the community do not like their real opinions they send out a retraction.
    The retraction is clearly a response to the community outrage.

    2. There is obvious that Chabad would be calling for unity. They are the ones with the most to lose. Specifically their donors. So they ignore the obvious rift in the ideologies.
    Mizrachi sees religious significance in Zionism and the State. Chabad do not recognize the State of Israel.
    This division exists and is real. The only question from here is will the community ignore the division and continue on in blissful ignorance.

  • Reuvain says:

    As Ambassador Yehuda Avner once said about Chabad . “They serve in the army. Support the country etc etc, they are Zionists in my mind”

    Facts are there are theological divisions. One can support the country and still believe that a state, rooted to some degree in secular nationalistic ideals, is not the beginning of redemption. One can send their sons to the army, as Chabad does and be deeply troubled with a law that has criminal sanctions for a Yeshiva students.

  • Questioner says:

    Reuvain,

    The issue is not whether the state in the beginning of the redemption. That is the difference between Rav Kook and Rav Soloveitchik – both Zionists. The issue is whether the State is inherently a good or bad thing. What answer did the Rebbe, and the previous Rebbe give?

  • important Nameless Nobody says:

    Dear Eminent Leader Shlit”a,
    You are asking the right questions.
    How do you define Zionism? Love and support for Israel and it’s people or a political definition that you feel comfortable with as your definition only fits in with “Religious Zionism” which most Jews do not affiliate with.
    Would you say that an Australian that does not want the Monarchy and therefore disagrees with our flag, anthem and constitution is anti-Australian?
    In Israel there are many beliefs and views about many issues, I would believe that in todays day and age a Zionist would not be in the definition of “Poalei Tzion” of Europe. If you think of pushing side issues of details, you have lost as Chabad’s actions in favour of the State of Israel speak much louder than your questions on irrelevant details.
    It would be very strange to call the Rebbe anti Zionist after every important Israeli person in politics, army and journalism went by the Rebbe in his lifetime and even now to his grave. And btw they were eminent leaders with names…

    Yours truly,
    Important Nameless Nobody

  • James Kennard says:

    Thank you Alex for calling me an “eminent leader” but I’m not eminent and not a leader of anywhere outside my own area of employment.

    I did prefer anonymity, given that I’ve already been compared by Rabbi Schochet to “arch-enemies of Chabad” and did not want to give him extra things to beat me with, but I realise that posting anonymously is not honourable.

    The questions that I asked are considered by some to be irrelevant. I accept that this theological question does cover the totality of one’s connection to, or support for, Israel, but nevertheless for people who take theology seriously, I think that they are highly relevant.

    All I’m asking for is a direct answer. Does Chabad believe the State of Israel to be an inherently good thing, and something we should thank Hashem for, as Religious Zionist do? Or not?

    In the current attempts of the Chabad leadership to clarify their position, I would respectfully ask for clarification on this particular point.

    James Kennard

  • Menachem says:

    I say there times a day
    ותחזינה עינינו בשובך לציון ברחמים
    and I would like to think that I am sincere about that as I am with the other pesukim that I ( we) say throughout our teffilot daily, weekly and on festivals that make strong references to Tzion.
    So I guess that I qualify as a Tzioni, even if by default, but that may not sit well with your definition, James.

    I am extremely happy and grateful that Eretz Yisroel came back to us all in 1948, and no doubt it was through miracles that Hashem granted klall yisroel. All the fallen heroes at those times as are allthose who have been killed defending our land, Kedoshim and Tehorim.

    To me calling it Medinat Yisrael or Eretz Yisrael is not an issue.
    The Torah and Talmud calls it Eretz Yisrael, I prefer adopting that title for our holy land.
    That makes me an anti Zionist??
    I don’t have an issue with those who prefer Medinat Yisrael.
    Does that mean that our love for the holy land and our people is any less?
    We say the tefillot for the safety of our IDF etc every Shabbat and chag.
    Come on!
    We can both meet, shake hands, and each of us can call it whichever we like without getting hot under the collar.
    Whatever title you give it , it will still be Yisrael.

  • James Kennard says:

    Thank you Menachem. Yes, there is much we agree on. But on the key hashkafic question which I’ve asked – I suspect we do not.

    Can I ask, yet again, for a simple answer to a simple question: Did the Rebbe and the previous Rebbe consider the State of Israel something to thank Hashem for?

  • Yaron says:

    Menachem,
    We see in the Tanach Israel being called a Kingdom, so Eretz is not the only term used, but obviously we cannot rely on the Tanach as a reliable source when we have the Gemara.

    R’Kennard,
    You ask if Rebbe #6 and #7 felt that the State of Israel was something to thank Hashem for, but we know the answer to that – they did not say Hallel on Yom Ha’atzmaut. That is the religiously mandated way to say thanks and they did not take that opportunity.

  • Diana Feinstein says:

    Anyone purporting to be from Chabad and siding with the Zionists is not Chabadnik.

  • Haari says:

    Hi Rabbi Kennard, the short answer do your question – no unlike religious zionists, the Rebbe and previous Rebbe did not think that the state of israel should be something that we shoud thank Hashem for. Unlike religious zionists, chabad do not say halal on yom hatzmaut and do not treat that day like a yom tov. The previous Rebbe believed that the establishment of the secular state of israel had prevented the arrival of moshiach and prolonged the galus. Prior to the establishment of israel, chabad – like most other haredi groups – opposed the creation of the state. However, once the state was already created (bideyeved), the Rebbe believed that it was essential to support and defend the country – otherwise in the states demise (G-d forbid) he felt that millions of jewish lives would be at risk. His support for israel and his speaking out against “land for peace” has always been based on the concept of pekuach nefesh. His support and advocacy for israel has earned him praise and admiration from israel’s leaders – including the current prime minister. Bottom line – chabad is not zionist nor anti-zionist. And its a hugh misconception to assume that one has to be a zionist in order to be an ardent advocate and defender of israel. And if they are not zionist – to assume that they are against israel.

  • Anon (understandably so) says:

    While on the topic of masks (as in the picture at the top of this post) and truth-telling:
    1. Do some of the Chabad spokespeople know they are lying, or are they completely delusional?
    2. It would be instructive for the broader Jewish community to get a straight answer from Telsner and Groner to the question “Do you still believe the Lubavitcher Rebbe is the Messiah?”.
    3. Groner was brought up within the incestuous Melbourne Chabad community, Telsner outside Chabad. To know how Chabad really thinks and acts, ask David Segal, a serious talmid chocham brought up in Kfar Chabad. You may not like the answers.
    4. Last but not least, an unsurprising email from Yeshivah Centre “Please note that Rabbi Telsner will be overseas from today, Tuesday March 18th until Tuesday, April 1st. All Halachic questions should be directed to Rabbi Chaim Tzvi Groner.”. So you are in good hands.

  • Gerald says:

    Dear Rabbi Kennard,

    I to am offering my own opinion. I think it important that you know where I am coming from.

    I am a graduate from The Lubavitch Yeshiva system having attained Smicha at the Central Lubavitch Yeshiva at 770.

    Though I have strong roots (not family, my family are absolutely not Chassidic) in Chabad, I like to think that overtime I have developed a more intellectually broader view of Yiddishkeit & have been influenced by other leading post Holocaust Jewish religious thinkers.

    Your question is something that I have grappled with while I was in Yeshivah & up till today.

    The past Rebbe’s view on Israel is very nuanced. Anyone reading his Sichos & public statements will walk away a little confused as to where he stood on Israel & Zionism.

    Let me suggest as a starting point what I believe was the Rebbe’s view. There will surely be many other true believers who would argue with my analysis.

    1. It is well known that the Rebbe Rashab & his son the Rayatz were classic anti-Zionists & belonged to those who opposed Zionism vehemently in Europe before the Holocaust.

    2. Zionism came to solve the so called Jewish Question, & although there were Religious Zionists as well, nonetheless, the thrust of Zionism was a secular movement seeking to build a Jewish Homeland & also replace what till that time was a religious definiton of a Jew, with a Secular Nationalistic & Cultural definition.

    Religius Zionism tried to protect the religious definiton while at the same time share the goal of Political Zionism i.e establishing a Jewish State.

    I believe the Rebbe in this sense was anti Zionist i.e he would have opposed, pre Holocaust, the establishment of a Jewish State that would redefine a religious Jew with a Secular Nationalistic Jew.

    I am reminded of a talk Yair Lapid gave where he claimed that Ben Gurion & the early Labour Zionists thought that relgious Jews would disappear in time, once the State is established, & we would have museums showing young Israeli’s what Chareidim looked like.

    3. However, once the State had been created, the Rebbe accepted the reality of the Jewish state & considered it very important to provide both material & spiritual support to the newly founded state.

    I would even go further & argue that the Rebbe saw the potential of the new Jewish State & it’s influence on world Jewry let alone on it’s own citizens.

    He therefore was very concerned with its spiritual character.

    I suspect he also understood what it would mean for world Jewry if the state would be eliminated by it’s Arab enemies. Hence his keen interest in all military matters & the defence of the state.

    4. Finaly the question you have asked. Did he see the establishment of the state as a blessing from Hashem, a good thing that we should thank Hashem for?

    Here we get into a very nuanced approach. He was not a Zionist, so he couldn’t have believed that the establishment of the State in 1948 was what Hashem wanted.

    However, did he see some religious significance in the fact that Divine Providence has delivered Eretz Yisroel into the hands of the Jewish People again. I think the answer to that is yes.

    If you read his sichos, with all the criticism both political & religious of the Jewish State, he constantly makes comments about Hashem created the world & can take Eretz Yisroel away from whoever is currently occupying & give it to the Jews. i.e quoting the first Rashi in Sefer Bereishis.

    Though his major opposition to Land for Peace & negotiations with the Arabs is based on security issues, in many of his sichos he would say that Eretz Yisroel belongs to Hashem & we don’t have the right to give it away to non-Jews.

    I know someones going to ask me to quote exactly which Sicha from which year & Parsha etc.. Unfortunately I don’t remember the sources exactly, but I studied in 770 for over 3 years & went to every Fabrengen, & have a very clear memory of the contents of many of the sichos I heard.

    So I think that the Rebbe did see some religious significance in Eretz Yisroel being in Jewish Hands.

    I hope this helps in some way to clarify your question.

    As far as religious yeshivah bochurim being conscripted to the army, that deserves a separate comment & treatement of it’s own.

  • david segal says:

    Menachem

    you say there times a day

    ותחזינה עינינו בשובך לציון ברחמים

    do you also understand what you are saying in your prayers?

    are you able to translate the word “בשובך”?

  • James Kennard says:

    Thank you to all those who have responded. I think the first of my questions has been answered. The Rebbes opposed the creation of the State, but have come to terms with its existence and Chabad now sees the state as something to support lest the Jews living there come to harm.

    Perhaps one could present this as originally sharing the Satmar, anti-Zionist position, and then moving to something very similar to the Aguda, non-Zionist-but-working-with-the-state position. But nevertheless certainly not the Religious Zionism position.

    Some have asked me, publicly or privately, why this matters. Given that a Chabad rabbi of an RZ shul says the right things and supports Israel, is it a problem that they do not share the defining philosophy of the congregation in their heart? I think this is a question that a non-RZ would ask, and a RZ could not even understand how it could be asked.

    Perhaps by way of analogy we might imagine a rabbi applying to be the spiritual leader of a Chabad shul. This rabbi respects the Rebbe greatly, and learns his Torah, but does not actually regard himself as a Chasid of the Rebbe. He pays lip service to Yud Tes Kislev, but in his heart is not a Chabadnik. Would such a person be suitable as a rabbi of the Chabad congregation?

    When one ponders that question, it might be easier to understand how a RZ, who thanks Hashem each day for allowing the Jews to return to their destiny in 1948 with the creation of their own State, is affronted by the idea of a Chabad rabbi leading his or her congregation and not sharing that fundamental philosophy.

    Some would say that the only RZ shul in Melbourne is Mizrachi – the rest, which are not Chabad or “right-wing”, are simply “not religious”. My understanding is that that is not so. Just as some members of those shuls may not be personally observant, they certainly regard their shul as orthodox. Similarly, just as they may not subscribe to, or even understand, the tenets of RZ, I think they would describe their shul as being RZ and would want their rabbi to be.

    The question therefore becomes, should Chabad rabbis of such shuls be more open about the fact that they do not accept the crucial beliefs of Religious Zionism in the way that their congregants do?

    I consider that an important and relevant question.

    By the way, I have “done teshuva” after my initial anonymity and am using my full name. This discussion would be more constructive if everyone else did the same.

  • Steven says:

    Anon, Rabbi Telsner will be back on the 1st April and will answer all your questions. Say which day?

  • Galus Australis says:

    Sunshine, your last comment contained thoroughly unacceptable material which constituted serious defamation.

    If you do it again, you will be banned permanently from this site.

    This notice is not up for discussion. Any attempts to discuss this matter will also result in a permanent ban.

  • May I ask a simple Q?

    What Difference Does It Make, if “the modern State of Israel is something to thank Hashem for”?

    I mean, a scholar might answer YES, and might, if she wishes not to offend, be thinking, “because one must bless Gd equally for bad as for good.”

    Is the Israeli citizen, who meaningfully answers yes, but is a draft dodger or a criminal, vastly different to the Haredi who answers no but pays taxes or who perhaps even served or presently serves the nation?

    Why is pledging allegiance to this notion so important? What practical divide does it construct, other than an ideological political divide?

    And is it not true that in essence the Haredi non-Haredi divide is about political power and determination to steer the nation in a true and proper direction. We are familiar with such arguments, the Talmud is one great big sea of turmoil, division and argument about who is in charge? what is the right direction? although they all agree that ultimately they serve HKBH and that is their primary ambition.

    Is the argument about Which community appears to be the most devoted to Gd? where are there less efforts and energies devoted to frivolous activities? more time to Torah, less TV, where is there less emphasis on worldly ownership and possession and fleeting pleasures and distractions?

    Is it not true that greater than any danger is the danger of blind sworn allegiance to the flag, to the image, to the cause; which creates an unthinking indiscriminating surge of humanity to vanquish all that it perceives as opposing it?

    And is it not true that perhaps the greatest value of our Talmud and our traditions is the responsibility it thrusts upon every individual to be responsible, to be a thinking and responsible being that lives their relationship with Gd directly and not via an intermediary?

  • Yaron says:

    R’Rabi,
    This has nothing to do with whether an individual does something wrong or not. Even a thief in Israel is part of a community circle that engages with and is actively part of the state.

    The Haredi population as a community rejects the state and refuses to give to it. They want to remove themselves from society. No doubt there are individual exceptions, but let us look at the Haredim as a whole.

    They are a sector of the Israeli population that has the potential to bankrupt the state with their demands to live off welfare, and placing the majority of the tax burden on a narrow section of the population. And they do not care that this is the case, on the contrary, they demand more of the pie. This is what I believe is the essence of this current debate.

    This is not about Yissachar and Zevulun in a balanced partnership, but about the very real threat of that both brothers will end up on the streets, begging bowl in hand.

  • Danny says:

    Rabbi Kennard. All major Shules have constitutions outlining their key fundamentals. Have a look and see what they say about religious Zionism. I would be seriously surprised if any mention religious Zionism as a guiding principle (aside for perhaps Mizrachi and caulfield). I certainly know my own shuls doesn’t.

    Rabbi, I dare say your arguments about who should and shouldn’t be a rabbi have missed the mark entirely. What we want our Rabbi to be is caring, knowledgeable, pastoral and guiding. A teacher and a friend. Incidentally ours, who is Chabad, is pretty much all these things. When I’m going through a family crises or about to marry off my daughter, I couldn’t give a fig about whether the Rabbi thinks the birth of Israel or the birth of his Rebbe was the beginning of Moshiach. I just want a good Rabbi.

  • Menachem says:

    @ David Segal
    I am not about to get into a discussion with as to whether I know what I am saying when I daven. You will no doubt be condescending and insulting. כדרכך בקודש

    But for the benefit of others here I will translate the entire phrase.
    ” May our eyes see (Your Shechina) return to Tzion(the Holy city of Yerushalayim) with mercy.

    My exchange with you, David, ends here.

    James, so far I haven’t seen anyone here give a proper definition of what Zionism really is. I imagine that there are many shades of Zionism as there are many shades or levels of observance. What zionsism is to a secular Jew won’t be what it is to an observant one.

    Whether it is called a Kingdom or Eretz Yisrael in Tanach or Talmud, is not really the issue.

    Why is it so important to refer to it as Medinat Yisrael, which gives it political borders and not Eretz Yisrael, whose borders are defined by the Torah?

    Anyone who wants to know what the Rebbe’s views on the matter are can look it up and find out first hand.
    What is undeniable is that Israeli statesmen, Prime Ministers and presidents. politicians from most parties and high ranking members of the IDF, came to him for either blessings or advice or both.
    There are videos of these meetings.
    There is hardly ever a sichah where the Rebbe didn’t mention Am Yisrael and Ertez Yisrael.
    So, whether he considered that being grateful and thankful to Hashem for the creation of “Medinat” Yisrael is important makes no difference to me.
    His actions spoke louder than words.

  • Dov says:

    The Rebbe and Freidiker Rebbe were both publicly thankful for the establishment of the state.

    The Freidiker Rebbe described it as a ‘candy/ lolly’. However, the FR believed that we could have done better, actually entering the Messianic era following the Holocaust if we would have focused more on sincere religious service and less on nationalism.

    While the Rebbe called the state of Israel a gift from Hashem and believed it’s success e.g. the Six Day War would bring about a religious awakening, he was concerned about replacing Jewish identification via religion with nationalism. He also fought against active attempts by the state to pull segments of it away from traditional Yiddishkeit.

    I would imagine that every RZ rabbi besides an extreme & delusional one would have to agree that Israel is a lolly, but also comes with challenges and is not perfect or the ultimate.

    If so, the gap is not so wide.

  • Bobby Basrah says:

    Rabbi Kennard writes:

    “…imagine a rabbi applying to be the spiritual leader of a Chabad shul. This rabbi respects the Rebbe greatly, and learns his Torah, but does not actually regard himself as a Chasid of the Rebbe. He pays lip service to Yud Tes Kislev, but in his heart is not a Chabadnik. Would such a person be suitable as a rabbi of the Chabad congregation?
    >>

    BB: You could ask the same question regarding both Melbourne and Sydney Mizrachi Shuls…

    Neither the late Rabbi Abaranok, Rabbi Zaichyk nor Rabbi Sprung were/are in their hearts “Mizrachisten”.

    Same with Sydney’s Mizrachi and their rabbis, the late Rabbi Abramson, Rabbis Mottel & Moshe Gutnick.

    But so what? As long as they say and do what is expected from them (sing Hatikvah at the drop of a hat, say Hallel on YH, praise the Israeli govt and IDF), everyone is happy.

    RJK: When one ponders that question how a RZ, who thanks Hashem each day for allowing the Jews to return to their destiny in 1948 with the creation of their own State, is affronted by the idea of a Chabad rabbi leading his or her congregation and not sharing that fundamental philosophy.

    BB: All over the world there are graduates of Chareidi “black-hat” Yeshivos who serve as rabbis in MO-type Shuls. They too “do the needful” as expected by their membership and ‘shalom al yisrael’.
    After all, business is business and parnassa is parnassa. (And while I don’twant to get personal, Rabbi Kennard, are you so happy with everything that is taught or happens at Mount Scopus? Would you say that you share the religious standards and fundamental philosphy of the vast majority of your students and their families?)

    RJK: Some would say that the only RZ shul in Melbourne is Mizrachi – the rest, which are not Chabad or “right-wing”, are simply “not religious”. My understanding is that that is not so.

    BB: Indeed, it is very much so.
    Check out the memberships of MHC, Caulfield, Moorabin, Brighton, Doncaster, Central, and maybe even South Caulfield.
    Less than 10% of their families are Shomrei Shabbat and Mitzvot and their “orthodoxy” usually means renting a seat in the Shul for the high-holidays and using the rabbi for “hatches, matches and despatches”.

    RJK: and Just as some members of those shuls may not be personally observant, they certainly regard their shul as orthodox. Similarly, just as they may not subscribe to, or even understand, the tenets of RZ, I think they would describe their shul as being RZ

    BB: I would suggest that most wouldn’t even know what the term RZ means. Their entire ‘zionism’ and/or “religious Zionism” is made up of donations to the UIA and JNF.

    You want CLEAR proof of this? Well, check out the numbers at the annual Yom Haatzmut service at Mizrachi.

    Besides Mizrachi congregants, usually less than 100 outsiders bother to attend. This is despite so-called “orthodox” memberships in Melbourne totalling 5-6000 families.

    RJK: The question therefore becomes, should Chabad rabbis of such shuls be more open about the fact that they do not accept the crucial beliefs of Religious Zionism in the way that their congregants do?
    I consider that an important and relevant question.

    BB: The Mizrachi Shuls don’t demand this from their rabbis. Why should anyone else?

    I have plenty more to say on this topic but this should suffice for now.

  • Rabbi Kennard,

    I want to answer your question, but I suspect, not as you would expect it to be answered.

    You asked, “the spiritual leader of a Chabad shul; a rabbi who respects the Lubavitcher Rebbe greatly, and learns his Torah, but does not actually regard himself as a Chasid of the Rebbe. He pays lip service to Yud Tes Kislev, but in his heart is not a Chabadnik. Would such a person be suitable as a rabbi of the Chabad congregation?”

    Indeed it is unlikely, most unlikely that he will be happily accepted as the rabbi for that Shule. But your Q was, “is he suitable”? However, the fact is that he may be the most suitable, he may be the V best to lead and direct this congregation towards having a better understanding of Chabad Chassidus and Chabad philosophy and becoming more learned in Chabad teachings.

    But they would not accept him because … because of what precisely?

    Woe to the congregation, Woe to the Yeshivah, Woe to the Kollel, that bypasses the best quality in order to promote the narrow issues of the hat style, or some other superficial characteristic that eclipses the critical and basic issues at the foundations of Yiddishkeit.

    So the differences that divide the Rosh Yeshivah of Satmar or Belz or Karlin are so great that they overshadow the great common denominator of Torah that binds Jews together and forbids a RZ individual or institution to seek Torah wisdom and counsel – and Satmar, Vishnitz and Horidonk; reject the Torah wisdom of Rav Kook or Rav Schachter or Rav Soloveitchik?

    I am not talking about their political perspectives and issues – but saying or attending a Shiur?

    When Reb Chaim Shmulevits said Shmuezzen in Mir, the place was packed with Yidden of every colour and Kippah, every style Peyo was there.

    I say here the trouble begins and ends – one is affronted that another Jew disagrees with him?
    If the Satmar Rebbe would come to Mercaz HaRav would they be affronted and not give him an Aliyah?

    Rav Beck would not get an Aliyah in Mizrachi? Because he has some principles that Mizrachi disagree with? Is there not enough in Torah and Yiddishkeit that is shared in common? – or is the affront so great that it eclipses all the Torah wisdom and knowledge?

    Why should it matter that a rabbi of a Shule does not accept the crucial beliefs of Religious Zionism in the way that their congregants do? He may have other qualities that make him by far the very best choice.

    Next we will be suggesting that unless a rabbi believes, that a rabbi who is long buried is in fact still somewhat alive – then he is not suited to be a rabbi of a particular group. Why is that? Is he incapable of rendering a Halachic decision?

    For all the Torah learning is perhaps for naught
    and we perhaps are closer to Kamtza and Bar Kamtza than we’d like to admit

  • Gerald says:

    Dear Rabbi Kennard,

    I think your summary that Chabad views the Modern State of Israel as something that needs support lest the Jews living there will come to harm is missing a very crucial point in my earlier comment.

    I suggested that the Rebbe also saw religious significance in the fact the Eretz Yisroel is once again in Jewish hands.

    So to be more theologically correct, & I see you value theological points of difference, Chabad would better be described as being somewhere between Aguda & Religious Zionism.

    In regards to your last comment about Congregations for whom Religious Zionism is a crucial belief & fundamental philosophy, how would they feel taking a Chabad Rabbi to lead the congregation?

    What interests me is that Mizrachi has a Chabad Rabbi leading one of it’s main minyonim & I believe a second minyon in Mizrachi has recently appointed a Chabad Rabbi.

    I find this fascinating in light of the fundamental difference in theology that define Religious Zionism & Chabad with regard to the establishment of the Modern State of Israel.

    Maybe theology doesn’t play as great a role as you have suggested for some congregations.

    Perhaps, as long as the Chabad Rabbi respects the minhagim of the congregation & in practice both Rabbi & congregants display a genuine love & support for the Modern State of Israel, this “Shidduch” works.

    Your analogy of a Chabad congregation taking someone who really doesn’t share the core beliefs of Chabad theology is interesting & I would agree with you that it is a very unlikely scenario.

    However, I am interested in your thoughts about the minyonim in Mizrachi, a true Religious Zionism community, having Chabad Rabbis for their minyonim that seem to function harmoniously.

  • chaim says:

    Dear Rabbi Kennard,

    You write why it matter’s because of a Chabad Rabbi in a RZ shul.
    I believe Rabbi Telsner was the Rabbi of a RZ Shul in London for over 20 years. Maybe we can see how they dealt with it.

  • Menachem says:

    There is a story about the Chofetz Chaim, I think, when a congregant told him what a talmid chacham and yeirei shomayim a certain friend was.
    The Chofetz Chaim responded,” whether he is a talmid Chacham or not can be easily ascertained by testing him and holding discussions in pilpul etc.
    But how do you know if he is a yirei shomayim? Have you done business with him?
    Not sure if it is a true story., but to presume that one knows whether a Chabad rabbi is paying lip service and not really Chabad and a chassid at heart, would be a bit presumptuous, don’t you think?
    I believe that if a rabbi proves himself to be eloquent,charismatic and deemed as a suitable candidate for a shul, including a RZ shul, then the fact that he is Chabad really shouldn’t matter.
    I have travelled the world and met with dedicated rabbis serving their communities with total commitment. Whether they are Chabad or not, never was a consideration. Each of these rabbis are loved, respected and supported by people from all walks of life.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    I’m not sure how R’ Kennard defines Religious Zionism, but I presume it means believing that the establishment of the State of Israel was “ראשית צמיחת גאולתנו” (the first flowering of the Messianic redemption) or even “אתחלתא דגאולה” (the beginning of the Messianic redeption). You might find RZ rabbis who are willing to declare that, but I suspect most of their congregants wouldn’t. It could be that Chabad rabbis are actually more in tune with their congregants’ beliefs: Israel is a Jewish country, it’s very dear to us, we should support it, when it comes to Israel vs its enemies we’re automatically on Israel’s side, &c.

  • Ben says:

    Thank you Bobby Basrah. You asked Rabbi Kennard some excellent questions and made good points.

    Indeed Mt SCopus college is far from appropriate for a for a genuinely orthodox rabbi lime rabbi James

  • david segal says:

    Menachem

    ”May our eyes see (Your Shechina) return to Tzion(the Holy city of Yerushalayim) with mercy”

    You know how to copy, but you don’t understand what you copied.

    What does the shechna’s return got to do with Zionism and the state of Israel?

    “My exchange with you, David, ends here”

    That is the same as saying, I will answer you when I understand what I read.

  • david segal says:

    Dov

    “The Freidiker Rebbe described it as a ‘candy/ lolly’. However, the FR believed that we could have done better”.

    In a Satmar site I found this:

    http://www.natrina.org/gedolim/lubavitch6.htm

    Did he say or wrote what they quote?

    Did he write or said Why he change his mind?

    What do you think on this article by Harav T Bloy “Pardes Chabad” 18, pages 305-320, and especially what he writes in page 313 from הבוקר’ (יומון הציונים הכלליים) בשנת תשי”ז התפרסם… .

    the journal if uploaded here:

    http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/kitveyet/pardes/pardes18.pdf

  • Doug says:

    Rabbi Kenard

    Where are all the RZ rabbis in Australia that are applying for the jobs that Chabad rabbis get?

    Unfortunately, Australia is not producing or maintaing RZ rabbis. Instead of focusing on the chabad rabbis on RZ shules, work on strengthening the RZ community to increase in Torah learning and produce some high quality talent – locally.

    Yavbeh has many chabad and litvish teachers. Where are the RZ teachers? Does the RZ community promotite the rabbinate or chinuch as a good career option? Or are they encouraging their children to be successful businessmen, doctors, lawyers etc.

  • Steven says:

    I think ALL Rabbonim in Australia should get together (achdus) and instead should put their names to a petition against this recent insanity which is a brainwashed and cult-like behaviour and hatred of Israel.

  • ock says:

    If R Kennard is interested in knowing Chabad/Rebbe’s views on Israel, telephoning R Groner, R Krajzanski, R Telsner, R M Gutnick maybe a better avenue than posting a comment on this website or his facebook page.

  • the other Mendel says:

    Rabbi Meir Rabi: “Next we will be suggesting that unless a rabbi believes, that a rabbi who is long buried is in fact still somewhat alive – then he is not suited to be a rabbi of a particular group.”. Are you oblivious to the divide between the Meshichisten and Antis throughout the Chabad world? Separate annual Kinus Hashluchim etc? Vicious turf wars. Etc.

    Steven: “I think ALL Rabbonim in Australia should get together…”. See above.

    ock: “If R Kennard is interested in knowing Chabad/Rebbe’s views on Israel, telephoning R Groner, R Krajzanski, R Telsner, R M Gutnick maybe a better avenue…”. And they will tell you the truth, no matter how distasteful, and how much it damages the “brand”? At least one of those mentioned is a well-known truth-teller.

  • Menachem says:

    Kudos to Rabbi Kennard,
    Your questions have certainly aroused interest. If it means that people will do proper research on the philosophy of Chabad and try to fathom what they are all about, I am sure the end result will be positive. But if some people are going to continue to stoke and agitate and quote negatively, bringing sources from wherever to discredit Chabad and their rabbis, we will arrive at nothing except ongoing disunity. It doesn’t take much at all for a baal machlokess to nurture machlokess. We have some experts in that area.
    Just read some posts of one or two individuals here.
    I am sure that is not your intention, Rabbi Kennard. And I am also sure that you are very familiar with the history of Chabad and it’s philosophy.
    The controversy regarding Medinat Yisrael and all that is associated with it is always going to contentious.
    I still say that we can respect each other’s outlook on how The land of Israel should be titled, and that shouldn’t make us confrontational and intolerant.
    So what do we do? Redirect and concentrate on the positive.

  • david segal says:

    ock

    If he will be telephoning R Krajzanski and R M Gutnick, I don’t think they will answer him. R Telsner and R Groner may tell him the truth, and when their answer will make waves, they will issue a statement that they didn’t understand the question.

    Do you really think that R Kennard doesn’t know what their views on Israel were/are?

  • Yaron says:

    This has similarities to Arafat (lehavdil) who would say one thing to his people in Arabic and another in English to the press.

    In that instance we are supposed to believe the worst, but here we are supposed to believe the public statements curated for the wider Jewish population.

  • Moushkie says:

    Why does Yeshivah feel the need to be Zionist and not like their rabbis in the US and Israel who joined the protests and didn’t retract?

  • TheSadducee says:

    “Indeed Mt SCopus college is far from appropriate for a for a genuinely orthodox rabbi lime rabbi James”

    Why is that precisely?

    Didn’t the Besht say that a diseased limb has hope for recovery, but amputation has no hope?

    To think that Hassids of these days forget the fundamental lessons of the Besht! Woe to this age indeed!

  • Menachem says:

    The historic document, read by David Ben-Gurion on Friday afternoon May 14th 1948 begins as follows.:

    Eretz Israel ( the Land of Israel) was the birthplace of the Jewish people.
    Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shape.
    Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave the world the eternal Book of Books.
    So this Declaration of Independence links the state to Eretz Yisrael as the birthplace of the Jewish people, but it also associates it with the concept of Am Yisrael.

    Ben-Gurion referred to it at that time as Eretz Yisroel! Shall we question his Zionism?

    So why on earth does it matter whether we call it one or the other?
    Each sees the holy land from his own perspective!

  • Ronit says:

    You’ve got the Satmar video all wrong!

    The flag-burning was done on Purim. They had drunk so much that they could no longer tell the difference between “arur haman” (cursed is Haman) & “baruch mordechai” (blessed is Mordechai).

    Sober, they would never have dreamed of doing such a thing…

  • James Kennard says:

    Thanks to all for their contributions.

    I think some people have missed the points I was trying to make.

    First, for those who asked for a definition of Religious Zionism – I did actually include that at the start and suggested: A belief that the State of Israel is a blessing from Hashem for which we should be thankful.

    Of course there are many different takes on that core belief. Some see the State as the beginning of redemption; others hope that it will be but are uncertain at present. But both would be described as Religious Zionists.

    The issue is much more than what we call the land. It’s whether we believe that the State itself, with all its imperfections, is a good thing.

    This is not about Haredim versus Zionists. I’m not saying that everyone has to be a Religious Zionist. It is undisputed that many Gedolim were, and are, not.

    The question that I raised was simple; is the Chabad hashkafa (Philosophy) allied with Religious Zionism or not. The comments above have made clear that it is not.

    (Yes, I did know that already. But I sought a public statement of the fact, because the question is usually avoided, by reference to Chabad institutions in Israel, or how many Israeli Prime Ministers visited the Rebbe, or how much Mishloach Manot is distributed to soldiers. It is very rare for a Chabad representative to state clearly whether the State is a good thing or not. I’m therefore very grateful to those who have contributed to the discussion to answer this question).

    And then there are many who have asked me, publicly and privately, why this matters. I think to ask that shows how far people like me have to go in explaining the significance of Religious Zionism as a core belief in our relationship with Hashem (or, to put it another way, to what extent the parameters of Jewish belief in our community are already defined by Chabad).

    Can I learn from a non-Zionist rabbi? Of course I can and do so all the time. Can a non-Zionist rabbi be a very fine spiritual leader and counsellor? Of course he can. But my question was different. It was whether a non-Zionist can embody and lead the philosophy of a synagogue if he personally does not share a core element of that philosophy? My view is that he cannot, just as a non-Chabadnik, even one who understands and greatly respects Chabad, could not lead a Chabad congregation. For those who don’t know how important the belief that we should be thanking Hashem for the State is for those who hold it, please imagine the absurdity of that example, of a non-Chabadnik serving as rabbi of a Chabad shul, and you’ll understand why the question is indeed important.

    Some contributors have pointed out that many Chabad rabbis serve RZ congregations. This is true, but that doesn’t make the situation right, let alone ideal. Perhaps that is what has led to the very lack of understanding of what RZ is and why it is so important (and please – to claim to know what a particular rabbi believes in his heart is somewhat arrogant and should be avoided).

    Others have pointed out that the members of the shuls in question are not often passionate Religious Zionists themselves. That is true. But sadly they are often not very religious either. The response to that is not to appoint a non-religious rabbi, but rather to appoint a rabbi who can lead them towards the fulfilment of the shul’s mission. If that mission includes Religious Zionism, then the rabbi should be one who can, by his own example, lead them in that direction too.

    What I wanted to generate with this discussion was some more transparency. If a shul wants to appoint as their rabbi a non-Zionist, even one who strongly supports Israel politically, then that is exactly what they should do. But prospective candidates should be clear about whether they support the State from a religious perspective, as something for which we should give thanks – as I suspect most of their congregants in a mainstream shul would – or not.

    In my article in the Jewish News I referred to Chabad’s ambivalence towards Zionism. Despite a hounding on and offline, I stand by that description, and believe that supporting an anti-Zionist rally and then retracting that support is a remarkably clear manifestation of that ambivalence. Let’s remove the ambivalence once and for all so we all know where we, and our rabbi, stand.

  • Steven says:

    The flag burning is done every year and is all on youtube.

  • Vivien Resofsky says:

    I believe that Chabad not only has custodianship over Melbourne’s Jewish future but it also has custodianship over the future health of Melbourne’s Jewish children.
    The Taskforce has the support of the JCCV and RCV. The community trust these organisations. The Taskforce inform us in relation to how to respond to disclosures and suspicions of abuse. They base their information on Chabad and Ultra Orthodox principles of child protection. The Taskforce also inform us about how we prevent child sexual abuse. They call their response ‘sensitive.’

    In 2006 The Taskforce began to advise all out Jewish schools about child sexual abuse. They took steps to make sure they were the only organisation doing this. They wanted to present a ‘unified” response.

    The Taskforce have chosen the policies that inform how the entire community how to protect children – including children who attend Yeshivah College, Mt Scopus and all the other Jewish schools. Most people don’t realize that The Taskforce are not professionally qualified in child protection and that their ‘sensitive response’ is based on Chabad and other Ultra Orthodox principles.

    Mt Scpous, and all our schools have accepted that The Taskforce have the expertise required to advise them.

    I recently participated in the First International Congress for Child Protection Organizations in Jewish Communities held at the Haruv Institute at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and sponsored by Haruv and Magen a child protection organization. Participants at the Conference came from all over the world.

    The keynote speaker, psychologist Dr Michael Salamon, wrote a paper entitled:
    The first congress for child protection. (www.timesofisrael.com). In the article he made the following comments:
    Information that is being presented to front line professionals is often altered, watered down, or even withheld because of mistaken notions of what certain communities see as their own unique cultural needs.
    . Information, data, and basic research was sorely lacking in Jewish communities on the topic of abuse because of a combination of religious and cultural barriers that insulate the community
    It was also noted that some victims are afraid to report their abuse for fear that they themselves will be labeled as being abusers or are in fact pedophiles.
    It is worth reading Dr Michael J Salamon’s article because I believe that some of his observations relate to the Melbourne Jewish community. I agree with Rabbi Kennard in relation to the influence of the Chabad and I invite him to discuss the best way to protect children who attend Mt Scopus with me.
    Although The Taskforce, JCCV and RCV have ignored what I have been saying for the last 8 years about the need for community based education, the South East Centre Against Sexual Assault (SECASA) have not only accepted the need for comprehensive community education, they are prepared to add their name to a list of those who support international programs I have suggested the community access on-line.
    I invite anyone involved in the protection of children to contact me for information about how to respond to child sexual abuse based on best practice, latest evidence based information that genuine world recognized experts agree on.

  • ock says:

    i am no expert on the matter, but I believe the Rebbe referred to creation of state of israel as miracle from Hashem

  • david segal says:

    Menachem wrote on March 20, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Any person with a basic Reading comprehension will understand that Ben Gurion starts the declaration of the establishment of the state of Israel, with describing the historical connection and rights of the Jewish people to the physical land of Eretz Yisroel, and then continues to declare of the establishment of the state of Israel:

    “… ACCORDINGLY WE, MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLE’S COUNCIL, REPRESENTATIVES OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF ERETZ-ISRAEL AND OF THE ZIONIST MOVEMENT, ARE HERE ASSEMBLED ON THE DAY OF THE TERMINATION OF THE BRITISH MANDATE OVER ERETZ-ISRAEL AND, BY VIRTUE OF OUR NATURAL AND HISTORIC RIGHT AND ON THE STRENGTH OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, HEREBY DECLARE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A JEWISH STATE IN ERETZ-ISRAEL, TO BE KNOWN AS THE STATE OF ISRAEL”.

    See the declaration on the official sites of the Israeli government, in Hebrew (the original language of the declaration), here:

    http://main.knesset.gov.il/About/Occasion/Pages/IndDeclaration.aspx
    And translated into English, here:

    http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/foreignpolicy/peace/guide/pages/declaration%20of%20establishment%20of%20state%20of%20israel.aspx.

    Under the British Mandate, “Eretz Yisroel” was a part of name of the country that was on the territory that the state of Israel was established later. see here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_of_Israel (9.1 British mandate)

    Ben Gurion referred in the opening of his declaration to Eretz Yisroel , as the territory where he was about to establish the state of Israel as Eretz Yisroel, and after he declared the state of Israel he didn’t mention Eretz Yisroel again.

    I will add, that in a letter dated שושן פורים תש”ט, (16.3.1949) the Rayatz called the state מדינת ישראל””, and the territory “ארץ ישראל”, you may see the letter here:

    http://chabadlibrary.org/books/default.aspx?furl=/maharyatz/ig/14/5343

    as to your question: “why on earth does it matter whether we call it one or the other?”, see here:

    http://chabadlibrary.org/books/default.aspx?furl=/admur/ig/16/5992

    http://chabadlibrary.org/books/default.aspx?furl=/admur/ig/26/698

    http://chabadlibrary.org/books/default.aspx?furl=/admur/ig/26/9716

  • Joe in Australia says:

    R’ Kennard scripsit:

    Others have pointed out that the members of the shuls in question are not often passionate Religious Zionists themselves. That is true. But sadly they are often not very religious either. The response to that is not to appoint a non-religious rabbi, but rather to appoint a rabbi who can lead them towards the fulfilment of the shul’s mission. If that mission includes Religious Zionism, then the rabbi should be one who can, by his own example, lead them in that direction too.

    You define Religious Zionism” as “a belief that the State of Israel is a blessing from Hashem for which we should be thankful.” I can’t understand how you can equate that belief with the performance of mitzvot. I mean, I think fish are a blessing from Hashem for which we should be grateful, but I’d have no problem with a rabbi who’s allergic to seafood even if he ministered to Congregation Bnai Sushi. Similarly, why should Religious Zionists object to a non-RZ rabbi? Unless they think that their belief is a mitzva in itself, of course.

  • Sunshine says:

    Vivien? Were any representatives of Taskforce or any other Jewish abuse group present at the conference

    In light of the letter in AJN this week by Rabbi Kluwgant, which was very bitter if like to know what you thought of that?

  • Skeptical says:

    Dear Rabbi Kennard,

    Attempting to get an official answer on where Chabad stands on Zionism is like trying to nail jelly to the wall. I wish you the best of luck. At least Adass are not deceptive in their hatred towards the State of Israel. Chabad seem to be the ultimate chameleons.

  • A Step Back says:

    Support for Israel does not mean support for everything the Israeli government does. Even amongst the ranks of RZ there must be voices which disagree with “land for peace” for example. MK Moshe Feiglin whom I would assume would be considered a RZ is constantly protesting positions the government takes. Does that mean he does not support Israel, and in turn cannot be considered a RZ? Of course not.

    We need to clearly define what would be considered anti RZ or anti-Zionist. Neturei Karta is a good example. They do not support the actual existence of the State.

    Therefore, someone who does support the existence of the State but disagrees with specific policies is not anti-Israel. Calling such a person or group which only disagrees about a specific policy, anti-Israel, or Anti-Zionist or Anti RZ, is an attempt to delegitimize that persons commitment in an intellectually dishonest way and to marginalize him. In fact I would call it extremism.

    To specifically address the issue at hand, regarding support for the anti-draft protest. This matter is far from simple. Why it has been deemed the quintessential core principal of support for the state is beyond me. It is true it is regarding Israel’s armed forces which if one did not support, it would be hard for them to maintain that they still support the state. However, this is not about support for the IDF or not. One could be against the draft bill but still support the IDF. If you are wondering how and why, well for starters let us firstly admit that a large chunk of the political left in Israel does not value Torah or its Yeshivot. They would love to see the chareidim mitigated if not disappear altogether. This draft bill is partly a result of that motive.

    The whole issue of whether yeshiva students should serve or not, for the real hardcore political left, this is truly an attempt to mitigate the yeshivot and cease government funding to them perhaps altogether. It of course is not being portrayed like that for obvious reasons.

    As such, even amongst Chabad, there have been voices against this draft bill. Yes, EVEN Chabad. I would say that more caution from the camp of RZ should also be had if it is truly an attempt to mitigate yeshivot (unofficially). After all even RZ values Torah.

    To say though that not supporting this bill means that one does not want the yeshiva bochurim in the army is astonishing. The right bill in the right way perhaps. I haven’t even brought up the issue of how non chareidi friendly the general environment of the IDF is.

    In light of all the above, I would imagine that calling out Chabad or in fact calling out two Rabbis who are Chabad as anti RZ or anti-Israel is just plain wrong. It is subtly vicious, oversimplifies a complicated issue, and of course causes machlokes (for no reason or because of nefarious intent).

    P.S.
    This is addressed to Rabbi James Kennard.

    I cannot help but think you are being intellectually dishonest.

    In this long line of comments, you have raised various issues (less about this bill and more about Chabad vis-a-vis Israel/RZ). Many people have come to address these issues. It seems to be quite nuanced and complicated.

    However you seem to constantly ignore their responses and in fact portray it as they have not addressed your issues. You then say something like, “my question was about Chabad hashkafah, if it thinks the State is a blessing. Clearly they don’t.” You falsely paint their statements and or ignore key factors.

    Then you marginalize all the activities Chabad does in Israel and basically imply, that actions do not prove their commitment. Besides for that having such a level of “chutzpah”, it is astonishing. (Do you in fact believe that words are louder than actions?)

    The Rebbe did more than any of us here or most people in the world(!) to support Israel and the IDF. When I say more, I mean exponentially more. And yet you dare imply, that somehow that does not mean, that would have made him (and hence his followers) “compatible” with RZ? If that is the case, and I had to choose between the two, (Chabad or RZ) I would have to choose Chabad. They seem to have an uncompromising commitment to Torah, and Israel. The Rebbe did more to strengthen Israel than some of its own leaders!

    Of course you will have myriad of so called “answers” and straw-man arguments.

  • Avigael says:

    Dr. Arie Morganstern gives an excellent historically documented view on Chabad (and others) in his Magnum Opus:
    “The Gaon of Vilna and His Messianic Vision” Gefen Publishing.
    “… After 1781, the new Hasidic movement would totally abandon the idea of national redemption and turn more intensively toward individual spiritual redemption(ie after all their claims and dates for Geula failed and it was evident they had lied). From then on, the Hasidic movement would focus on cultivating the mystical persona of the zaddiq, whose mission is to redeem his flock in exile and not from exile. Acute messianism (physically from the land) ceased ceased to be a part of the agenda of the Hasidim … ”

    We can see that since that time, they have developed their own doctrine in regards to Geula, the Temple, the Torah, concept of God, etc. and all of their interpretations which are now mutually exclusive on all areas to Chazal and the accepted interpretations of Talmud Chachamims such as the Vilna Gaon etc. (who are all absolutely centered on Israel Physically). This is also why Chabad do not accept or push Aliyah, in addition to losing their power in the diaspora.

    How any Community can call these people Torah Leaders, appoint them to Beth Dins, Rabbinical Councils, Shules, Schools and claim to be following Judaism is beyond me.

    Its well past time that Chabad Institutions drop the “Orthodox” and “Judaism” and just be labelled what they are – “Chabad”.

    [gratuitous and nasty anti-Chabad screed deleted]

  • Naftoli says:

    I can’t imagine what “Avigael” must have said to have you delete her/his “gratuitous and nasty anti-Chabad screed”. What you didn’t delete is complete fiction and quite nasty and anti-Chabad in my opinion.

  • Avigael says:

    Gratuitous? No I have good reason. Nasty? I would say Truthful.
    At any rate, my comments being in line with a long list of Talmud Chachamim, I am in good company. I can list them and their comments if required.

    It boils down to what we are asked to believe is ‘normative Judaism’. For those who want to see Rav Keller’s excellent summary of what Chabad officially calls “within Judaism’ See his excellent article here:

    http://identifyingchabad.org/rabbikeller.html

    [Editor: Avigail, it’s quite simple: as editor, I’m the arbiter of what constitutes hateful writing on this site. You have been warned before. Do it again again and you will be banned. Further discussion of this matter will also result in a ban from this site.]

  • Rabbi Kennard,

    I know there are 13 articles of belief – but which one of those 13 encompasses, “A belief that the State of Israel is a blessing from Hashem for which we should be thankful”?

    Furthermore, in whatever guise it be espoused: “the beginning of redemption; or a hope that it will be”; however one wishes to define Religious Zionism, how how important is it that one have this belief?

    And by what yardstick can Religious Zionism be, “a core belief in our relationship with Hashem”?

    What happens if we do not believe, “that the State itself, with all its imperfections, is a good thing”?
    Does one participate less vigorously in those Jewish Israeli Zionist issues that one is in favour of?
    Does one protest more vigorously against those Jewish Israeli Zionist issues that is not in favour of?
    Does a Religious Zionist donate a greater proportion of Tzedaka monies to Eretz Yisrael than one who is not a RZ?

    As I already asked in my earlier post, what difference does it make if one does or does not carry this badge?

    As to whether, “a non-Zionist can embody and lead the philosophy of a synagogue if he personally does not share a core element of that philosophy” – is it not entirely dependent upon the disposition of the congregation? If the congregation is blinded by slogans and peripheral tribal loyalties, then the answer is, no. No matter what values, brilliance and charisma this rabbi can muster and value he can provide, the congregation will be incapable of accepting him as a leader.

    The imagery you are describing, Rabbi Kennard, is closer to the CEO of General Motors driving a Ford car, or the Coke CEO admitting he prefers the taste of Pepsi. An image of true brainless-ness, which unfortunately seems to occupy the vast majority of First World occupiers.

    If this is the attitude of any congregation, that they cannot accept “a non-XYZnik, even one who understands and greatly respects XYZ”, then we have just another example of people whose first loyalty is not to Gd but to their tribal group.

    What a shame; because even the football mad Victorian community know when to take a winner. The Collingwood coach, Nick Malthause, is now working for their arch enemy Carlton. Why? Because winning a premiership is the goal.

    If only we too would focus and understand that being loyal to HKBH comes first, second and third, and that is the only premiership of value to promote and pursue, we then would cease all this internecine bickering and amalgamate ourselves to serve HaShem Echad.

    If there is anything absurd that one ought to think about – it is exactly this. We, a people who twice daily declare our allegiance to Gd as being the Only One, are engaged in a waste of energy to promote the triumph of our own little fiefdom. We seek, without respite, opportunities to manufacture and highlight the slightest differences between ourselves and those of different tribal loyalties and then trumpet these differences and utilise them to build barriers to isolate our groups from the other groups – and we truly believe that we are thus honouring Gd Almighty.

    Heaven Help Us.

    I have made this point countless times regarding Kashrus. Here in Melbourne, a kitchen dedicated exclusively to Kosher MUST be Kashered – as though pork has been cooked there – if Heaven forbid, meat from an opposing Kosher authority was brought into that kitchen.
    And some think that Gd and His angels rejoice and dance at this cruel display of deceptive, corrupted Yiddishkeit.

    And lastly, what makes a rally, “an anti-Zionist rally”?
    Yes, I know you are slapping your forehead in disbelief, but I think that if you would try to formulate the answer to this question, there would be some light shed constructively on this matter.

    This is a highly emotional discussion and I am attempting to bring some brain clarity to the fore and push some of the heart a bit further into the background, so please understand this is a serious query and not a provocative gesture.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    I have a fundamental problem with a demand that rabbis in Australian synagogues be Zionist. This is Australia. They are in Australia. If you’re living in Australia, unless you work for the JNF you are not a Zionist. You are, at most, aspirationally Zionist. You think that the State of Israel is a good thing and you might possibly one day consider living there, perhaps once the kids are grown up and you’ve retired. If we measured religion by that level of commitment then you could have a rabbi who was in favor of kosher food and was contemplating the prospect of buying a siddur. So yes, that’s certainly some level of commitment, but it’s hardly the sort of thing that’s worth stipulating on an employment ad: WANTED: Religious Zionist Rabbi. Must be in favor of Israel, keeping kosher.

  • david segal says:

    what is wrong with the Rabbonim, they sign without reading on what they sign, and talk to people they don’t know?

    http://www.bhol.co.il/Article.aspx?id=66453

  • Gertrude says:

    NO one has yet answered the question why it was ok for the Israeli (RZ) Chief Rabbis to attend the rally in Jerusalem and not ok for the Jews of Melbourne to do so here.

  • Tom says:

    Gertrude,

    Respectfully, the Chief Rabbis are not from the Religious Zionist Camp, They come from the Chareidi camp, and one the Religious Zionist Candidates, Rav Stav, from Tozhar movement, was muscled out by the Charedim, protecting their political turf…..the simple answer

  • Joe in Australia says:

    what is wrong with the Rabbonim, they sign without reading on what they sign, and talk to people they don’t know?

    Mutav sheyihyu shogegin.

  • david segal says:

    Gertrude, Gareth, Leichter, Mushkie

    the Israeli Chief Rabbis that attended the rally in Jerusalem, are not from the RZ camp, or from the Charedi camp, and they thought that by attending the rally the Charedi world will see them as Charedi Chief Rabbis, what they don’t realize is, that the Charedi world will always see them as they saw the previous Chief Rabbis-employees of a hated institution, and only the general public will see them as Charedim.

    the Jews of Melbourne didn’t attended the rally, because the rally was organized by Addas, (a Keila they don’t want to be seen as associated with), and they knew that the real reason behind the rally is their hatred of the state of Israel, and an article and pictures in the Satmar “Der Id” (or “Der Meshumad” as the paper is known by others), and not a worry for the Limud HaTora in Israel.

  • Steven says:

    editors, looks like comments are not coming through…

    [Editor: comments are on moderation and also are hidden 90 days after they’re made for legal reasons]

  • Bobby Basrah says:

    David, I am astonished by your open hatred of Adass.
    [Editor: personal attack removed]
    As for that rally, you truly know nothing.

    1) It was not only Adass people behind it (as you could see from the rabbis involved.)

    2) The Jews of Melb DID attend. Despite the AJN and a few internet haters trying to minimise the crowd, there were close to 1000 people attending – including women and children. The AJN knows it as their (uninvited) photographer took heaps of pics – which of course none appeared in the paper – probably for that reason.

    Of course it was the same with the anti-religious media in Israel where they wrote there were “tens of thousands’ attending their rally when the figures were 250,000 (police estimate) and 600,000 organisers estimate.
    3) Adass is a “broad church” (belaaz) and has Jews of every type as members including all chassidusses, Litvaks and Sfardim. And includes those who have every type of view re the state of israel from left to right.
    Sadly for the local ‘salon’-zionists, Lapid and Bennett have created a situation that EVERY SINGLE Chareid sector and community has been pushed towards the anti-Israel corner by their attempts to destroy Torah.

    That someone like you who sits all day in a makom Torah can bash those who follow the call of the entire Torah world (even many from the Mizrachi sector) to pray against these gezeiros is pretty disgusting.

    [Editor: personal attack removed]

  • david segal says:

    the editor

    Thank you for removing the personal attacks against me. I have a copy of his full posting and i will handle him in my way.

    Gertrude, Gareth, Leichter, Mushkie, Bobby Basrah, sba, bsa.

    As to your claim that close to 1000 people including men, women and children attended the rally.

    i know that youcan and you did, but Can we really say that we should count the children and babies in prams that were dragged by their parents to the rally, as “people” that attended the rally?

    How many adults are there, in a total of 1000 Adass people that include children?

    Don’t blame the AJN or the Israeli media for not agreeing with your numbers.

    The fact is that that the rally in Melbourne was attended only by members of Adass and a few people from other groups.

    Why didn’t they?

    In an earlier posting I suggested that the reason was, that once people realized that the rally was organized by a Adass, they knew that it wasn’t a rally for the support the Tora lerners in Israel, but a way to harem the image of Israel In the eyes of the local Jewish and the general public, and they didn’t want to play a part in their dirty game.

    Your claim that Adass includes litwaks and sfaradim, is as true as your claim that 1000 people attended your rally in Melbourne.

    I don’t know how many Litwaks there are in Adass, but I am sure that you don’t have enough sfaradim who are members of Addas make up a Mezuman of three.

    I will not comment on the call of the entire Tora world. been there and seen it all.

    You wrote that many Rabbonim from the Mizrachi sector in Israel called to pray against these Gzeiros.

    You don’t get it, do you?
    the Mizrachi Rabbonim in Israel served in the Israeli army, and believe that the establishment of the state of Israel was the Atchalto D’geula, (the beginning of the final redemption of the Jewish people) while your Rebbe and his Chasidim believe that you have to pray for the destruction of the state of Israel, even if it will cost Jewish lives, and they admire people that had the privilege to visit Sonei Israel that call and threaten to destroy the state and the people of Israel.

    Here are some pictures of a pilgrimage to Iran, do you recognize any person among the Oley L’regel?

    http://www.hakafe.com/printthread17328.html

    Here is another example:

    http://www.bhol.co.il/Article.aspx?id=65638

    “אמש בשעה 9:45 שעון ניו יורק התקשרו עסקני אגודת ישראל למעונו של האדמו”ר מסאטמר והעבירו דרך הפקס את הנוסח החדש של הקול קורא בלי השורות והמילים שהוכנסו לנוסח הקודם, והחתימה מחדש את האדמו”רים.

    השורות שהושמטו הינן: “אחינו בני ישראל! וכי מותר לנו לשבת בחיבוק ידים למשמע צרה כזאת, הרי תורת השם היא חיינו ואורך ימינו, וגם היא עיקר בטחונם של ישראל, כמאמרם ז”ל (מכות דף י’) על הפסוק עומדות היו רגלינו בשעריך ירושלים, מי גרם לרגלינו שיעמדו למלחמה, שערי ירושלים שהיו עוסקים בתורה”.

    What do you call a Rebbe that is saying that he will sign on a Kol Kore to participate in the protest, only if they will delete any reference to the fact that Limud Hatora protects the Jewish people?

    You call him my master, my teacher my Rebbe!

    What should we call such a person?

  • david segal says:

    if it is easier for you to recognize them if they are moving, you maey see them in this video:

  • Tom says:

    Just an observation –
    It has long been held that the unifying thread among the Arabs has been their shared hatred and stated destruction of Israel.

    Now if I’m not mistaken, there have been issues as to which of the sons of the Satmar Rebbe was to be the rightful heir, nasty if I remember correctly.
    And Chabad had their issues on the passing of the Rebbe, where we had the Meshchistim being displeased with non-Meshchistim others.
    And, not to forget that the Satmar/Chabad tension in the US…pulling each others beards out and attacking each other….

    So is the unifying issue here the “dislike” of the Religious Zionist camp? Hmmmm

  • Elijah says:

    [gratuitous personal attack removed]

  • Haari says:

    David Segal, by posting the video of neutrai karta meeting Ahmadinejad in Iran, I’m not exactly sure what point you are trying to make? Neutrai Karta is a tiny, fringe, minority group of nut cases. Are you claimng that they are a representative of the charedi community as a whole or better still the Adas community of australia? If thats the case, then using your fine logic I can argue that a group like “Rabbis for human rights,” (a group of left-wing reform and modern orthodox rabbis), women in black, Bt’selem and “peace now” (all organisations who routinley harrass israeli soldiers and civilians on a daily basis and collaborate with the enemy) are representative of reform, modern orthodox and secular jews. In addition, Noam chomsky visited lebanon and iran and met and rubbed shoulders with the hezbollah and iraniann leadership. Another secular (american) jewish academic – judith butler- even called hezbollah and hamas “fellow progressive groups.” Could i argue that her attitude and chomsky’s attitude is reprsentative of all secular minded/left-wing jews? Interestingly, there are more secular and leftwing jews and israelis who work and collaborate with israel’s enemies to undermine and subvert israel than there are charedi jews. And there are also many draft dodgers amongst the secular…particularly amongst the elite (ehud olmert’s children come to mind).

  • Haari says:

    And while many amongst the israeli elite dodge army service all together – Bar Rafaeli is another fine example- others find more interesting ways of getting around the system using their family connections. Take Yair Lapid – the “patriotic” israeli who is ironcially pushing for an “equal burden” of army service. Thanks to his daddy, Tommy Lapid (who pulled some strings for his beloved son), Yair was able to work as a “journalist” while “serving” in. the IDF. Yes, so much for the “equal burden…”

  • david segal says:

    haari

    It all started with Gertrude question on March 28, 2014 at 9:10 am: “NO one has yet answered the question why it was ok for the Israeli (RZ) Chief Rabbis to attend the rally in Jerusalem and not ok for the Jews of Melbourne to do so here”.

    I answered him on March 28, 2014 at 12:17 pm: “the Jews of Melbourne didn’t attended the rally, because the rally was organized by Addas, (a Keila they don’t want to be seen as associated with), and they knew that the real reason behind the rally is their hatred of the state of Israel, and an article and pictures in the Satmar “Der Id” (or “Der Meshumad” as the paper is known by others), and not a worry for the Limud HaTora in Israel”.

    I answered on March 31, 2014 at 9:41 am in length, and in the next posting on March 31, 2014 at 10:06 am I posted the link to this video.

    Why are you able to understand that a minority doesn’t represent the majority in the Charedi and you can’t understand that the Jews of Melbourne didn’t do so here, because they thought that the minority that called them to a attend the rally didn’t represent them, or was given the authority to attend the rally? Or the people thought what I wrote they thought, or they thought that it Israel is not what the promoters of this rally wanted them to believe it is, or they knew that it is not a such a bad idea if people will share the load with others.

    Do you think that the other Rabbis would have signed on the “Kol Kore with rabbis Telsner and Groner if they knew that they will issue the statement they issued?

    Could it be that the members of the Yeshiva have Ruach haKodesh and they knew that Rabbis Telsner and Groner signed on something they didn’t read, and that is why didn’t take their call t attend the rally too serious?

    You wrote: “by posting the video of neutrai karta meeting Ahmadinejad in Iran, I’m not exactly sure what point you are trying to make?
    Are you sure “not exactly” what point I was trying to make?

    Didn’t you read or you didn’t understand what I wrote in top of the link or in the previous posting?

    I didn’t you to tell me that Neutrai Karta is a tiny, fringe, minority group of nut cases, I still remember how one night during the six day war, only a few hours after being shelled by mortars by the Jordanian army, I saw one of them plastering the walls of R’chov Mea Shearim with posters protesting against the Israeli army attack on Jordan.

    Where did you see that I thought that they are representatives of the Charedi community or the Adas community of Australia?
    I don’t think that there is a person with a half a brain that thinks that the “Rabbis for human rights”, or women in black, Bt’selem and “peace now” (all organisations who routinely harass Israeli soldiers and civilians on a daily basis and collaborate with the enemy) are representative of reform, modern orthodox and secular Jews, but I think that most religious people in Melburne believe that Adsss is run by people that have a Satmar believe and mentality.

    In addition, are you so simple to think that because Noam Chomsky visited Lebanon and Iran and met and rubbed shoulders with the Hezbollah and Iranian leadership. Another secular (American) Jewish academic – Judith butler- even called Hezbollah and Hamas “fellow progressive groups”, gives members of Neturei Charta or Satmar to do the same?

    There are more secular and leftwing Jews and Israelis who work and collaborate with Israel’s enemies to undermine and subvert Israel than there are Charedi Jews, because there are more secular and left wing, Jews and Israelis in the world then Charedim.

    Even that among the secular there are draft dodgers, so what? If amongst the secular there are also many killers, prostitutes, drug users and pedophiles, cheats and liars, does it mean that it is also ok for the Charedim to have them too?

    The question is, if it is ok to do so, and not if there are more that do so in another group.
    Why do you think that it is wrong that Yair Lapid was able to work as a “journalist” while “serving” in. the IDF? a journalist in the army is a job like any other non combat job, that has to be done. In addition, why is it ok for the rabbis Yosef and Lau to be elected to a government job as chief rabbis because their fathers, and not for tommy’s son? Why is it ok that in the Charedi world you find that public jobs are given to useless people just because of nepotism. You don’t have to search far for them, just look at your local community.

  • Haari says:

    “In addition, are you so simple to think that because Noam Chomsky visited Lebanon and Iran and met and rubbed shoulders with the Hezbollah and Iranian leadership. Another secular (American) Jewish academic – Judith butler- even called Hezbollah and Hamas “fellow progressive groups”, gives members of Neturei Charta or Satmar to do the same?”

    When did members of Satmar ever visit Iran, lebanon or gaza and rub shoulders with the mullahs, hezbollah and hamas? Can you point out one instance of this ever happening? just one? Why are you confusing satmar with neturei karta? These are two very distinct groups with different origions/history (satmar is a chassidic/ hungarian and neutri karta is mostly litvish), outlook and ideology. Keeping that in mind, What relevance does the video of neutari karta have to do with the rally in melbourne. Could this be hypervole at best? Your long winded, rambling post, only raised more questions than provided answers. Sorry.

    “Why do you think that it is wrong that Yair Lapid was able to work as a “journalist” while “serving” in. the IDF?”

    Its very wrong. Especiallt when daddy pulled the strings. Why should someone else’s son be sent to the front line, while this spoiled brat gets a cushy gig as a “journalist” thanks to his powerful daddy? What happened to “equal burden” of service?

    “a journalist in the army is a job like any other non combat job, that has to be done”

    You’ve got to be kidding me.

    ” Why is it ok that in the Charedi world you find that public jobs are given to useless people just because of nepotism.”

    I never said nepotism is ok. At least we could agree on one thing.

    “There are more secular and leftwing Jews and Israelis who work and collaborate with Israel’s enemies to undermine and subvert Israel than there are Charedi Jews, because there are more secular and left wing, Jews and Israelis in the world then Charedim.”

    BS. Even on a proportional level, the secular/reform far out number the charedim when it comes to colluding and collaborating with the enemy.

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