NEW YORK (VINnews) — Intelligence Minister Elazar Stern visited New York’s Park East synagogue in Manhattan on Shabbos and spoke after prayers to the attendees as well as to members of the neighboring synagogue for Iranian expatriates. Stern mentioned that both of his parents survived the Holocaust, one in Auschwitz and another in Mauthausen.
While Stern was describing what his parents endured, the rabbi of the Shul, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, himself a survivor of the Holocaust who was in Budapest during World War II, was visibly moved to tears. Rabbi Schneier who was born in Vienna in 1930 lived under the Nazi occupation in Budapest and arrived in the US in 1947. His grandfather was murdered in Auschwitz. He has served as rabbi of the Park East community for more than 50 years.
Stern also described how as head of the IDF’s Education Corps in the 1980’s he had adopted Iranian children in his home village of Hoshaya.
Stern stressed that “the IDF is the Israeli Defense Force but not just for Israel, its goal is to protect the Jews of the world. The IDF is always thinking about the security of Jewish people worldwide.” He added that “Iran will not have a nuclear bomb in any scenario. Israel doesn’t want to deal with this alone, we prefer to deal with Iran with other countries but Israel is committed to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
Stern is currently vying for the position of Jewish Agency head together with a number of other candidates from Israel including former UN ambassador Danny Danon and Irina Nevzlin, director of the Jaffa-based Museum of the Jewish People and wife of former Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein. The decision regarding the identity of the next chairman of the Jewish Agency is expected to be given next month by the ten-man panel which presides over the Agency.