Bennett Angers Chabad After Comparing 5th Rebbe’s ‘Passive’ Approach To Herzl’s Activism


JERUSALEM (VINnews) — During a special Knesset session marking Herzl day, the day that Herzl was born, (10th Iyar 5620) Prime Minister Bennett spoke in the Knesset and quoted chareidi rabbis including the 5th rebbe of Chabad, Rabbi Sholom Ber Schneersohn, who opposed Herzl’s initiatives.

Bennett said that a “prominent chareidi rabbi” wrote in 1900: “We mustn’t listen to them on this matter to reach our redemption with our own hands. To go out of the exile by force. We aren’t allowed. All of our hopes and expectations are that Hashem should bring us Moshiach in our days and our redemption will come through Hashem Himself.”

Bennett gave his own interpretation to the words of Rav Sholom Ber and said that they mean that “we don’t need to act but rather to pray and to believe that things will happen by themselves.”

Bennett also quoted the rabbi of Lodz, Rabbi Eliyahu Chaim Meisels, who he said “placed a cherem [ban] on all of the Zionists.”

Bennett continued stating that “in this context we need to view the historic intervention which Herzl led, bringing us from passiveness to initiative. I believe in this way, I believe in less grumbling and more getting up and taking responsibility even at very difficult moments.”

The prime minister added that “I am a believing person. My faith in Hashem means that on the one hand I believe in Hashem but this does not exempt us in this land, in this world from doing all that we can to influence reality. In the end I have trust in what Hashem will decide, but we need to recognize that in our human comprehension things appear to be bad, there is not insurance that everything will work out well.”

Bennett angered Chabad chasidim by portraying the 5th rebbes words in this way. The chabad site COL responded by stating that “Bennett forgot to mention in his speech a number of important details and who in truth did prevail historically: Herzl wrote in his diary (1895) that he is unsure about which land to choose to establish the Jewish state, the land of Israel or Argentina, and similarly in his book the Jewish state he left the matter unresolved. He also entertained the idea of ‘mass assimilation’ of Jews as a possible solution to antisemitism and only later reneged and called this a ‘mistaken thought’.”


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