Zionists Appeal for Weapons in Flatbush Synagogue

Aug. 31, 2007

Orthodox Jews attending a local Chassidic synagogue in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, Hisachdus Yereim Veretzky, under the leadership of Rabbi I. Landau, the Veretzkyer Rebbe, were shocked to see on the tables Zionist literature requesting donations to buy weapons, to be used to defend a West Bank settlement. The literature was camouflaged by an accompanying appeal for money for paramedic response teams, in the wake of the tragic death of a two-year-old girl in a car accident. But upon opening the pamphlet, readers found a letter from Rabbi Zev Leff, rabbi of the settlement Moshav Matityahu. The letter read:

Dear Friends,

As you are aware the security situation in Eretz Yisroel is not as we would like it to be. Although all is in the hands of Heaven, and Torah, mitzvos and prayer are of crucial importance, we are enjoined by the Torah to make our own physical efforts to protect ourselves in natural ways from dangerous situations.

AMITZ (an acronym meaning "Saving from the Enemy") is an organization that was formed by members of various early response teams (Kitot Konenut) to supply equipment for self defense to communities that are vulnerable. This equipment is to be used by "Kitot Konenut" volunteer groups from within the community, which will be trained to use the equipment in defense of the population, if G-d forbid it is necessary. This mitzvah, which involves the protecting and saving of Jewish life, is one of supreme importance, as one who saves even one life is as if he saved an entire world.

Please contribute generously to this organization so that by fulfilling our responsibility we will merit Divine assistance and protection.

Sincerely, with Torah blessings, Rabbi Zev Leff

This letter was written in the summer of 2003, whereas the tragic death of the child took place in 2006. The literature was distributed just now, in 2007, and readers have to look carefully to see that the organization appealing for paramedics and a clinic is the same organization supplying the weapons and defense groups.

This particular synagogue is a very public place, open without interruption from 5:00 in the morning until 1:00 at night. Rabbi Landau and other synagogue leaders take no responsibility for any literature distributed there.