Extreme Hasidic faction vs. haredim: The Satmar rebbe, Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, leader of the world's biggest anti-Zionist Hasidic community, has launched a harsh attack on ultra-Orthodox politicians in Israel,
who he claims are only interested in "glory, power, money and seats."
The rebbe has also clarified that participating in the Knesset elections
is a serious religious offense equal to heresy.
Speaking at a fundraiser for PR efforts against the "impure elections," Teitelbaum said that participating in the elections was "a very serious prohibition related to the foundations of the faith in God."
He added that his uncle, who founded the extreme Hasidic movement, wrote the same thing "from the depths of his heart and the tears in his eyes."
The rebbe expressed his regret over the fact that some haredi Jews were running for Knesset, claiming that this was not being done in God's name.
"The battle on who will lead brings out everything: They fight with each other, engage in slander, disgrace their friends in public."
Addressing the Israeli army's attempts to draft yeshiva students, the rebbe argued that haredi politicians preferred "a temporary state of peace," resulting in yeshiva students being forced to report to the IDF's recruitment centers and undergo forbidden medical checks.
"All the tests are to check if he's healthy; there is no test about a chapter in the Mishna," he commented cynically. "They undergo body examinations to see if they are fit for the army, may the All-merciful protect us."
"There are those who say not to go and shout that they shouldn't go, but those who shout are only the ones who don't have a seat," he said. "Whoever has a seat in the Knesset keeps quiet, and whoever doesn't have one shouts."
He mentioned his brother-in-law, the Vizhnitz rebbe
("one of the rabbis who is not so familiar with politics"), who ruled that yeshiva students should not report for IDF recruitment centers, claiming: "Less than 24 hours later, politicians arrived at his home to make him understand that he mustn't say those things now.
"Boys have been going to the examinations for week, and there have been a lot of issues of sanctity there, but the politicians said that they must keep quiet and there was complete silence. But after he spoke, the politicians suddenly found a good arrangement.
"Where have you been till now? If you managed to reach an arrangement, why did you wait and not make an arrangement till now? Because of the politics they realized they have to be quiet, but after a small row had already begun – they suddenly found an arrangement."
The Satmar rebbe expressed his hope that "God Almighty will help open the eyes of the blind to the bribe they take, and see the truth." He cited the Days of Awe prayer, calling to remove the "evil government" from the face of the earth.
About two weeks ago, sources in the Satmar community said the Hasidic sect intended on paying every Israeli
who would promise not to vote, regardless of his or her religious affiliation.
According to the sources, each person submitting their identity card and driver's license on Election Day would receive $100 in cash.
Earlier it was reported that one of the Satmar rebbes, Rabbi Yekutiel Yehuda Teitelbaum, would land in Israel two days before the January 22 elections with $25,000 for institutions influencing their students not to vote