Didn't the Hazon Ish come to Israel and vote?

08/03/07

Was the Hazon ish wrong in making aliya to Israel and even voting in the elections there?

The Chazon Ish came to Palestine in 1933, before the State of Israel existed. He came to strengthen the religious Jewish community there, not to build a state. When the question of founding a state was later put to him by Agudah activists, he spoke against it (Mikatowitz Ad Hei B'Iyar, p. 97). He was against Agudah joining the Zionist government (ibid. p. 93).

His opinion on voting is far from clear. The compilers of Pe'er Hador tried to prove that he favored voting based on three or four stories told by people close to him. Subsequent investigation has shown that in some of these stories, the issue was actually the municipal elections for Bnei Brak under the British Mandate. In others, he was not asked whether to vote, but only whom to vote for. Furthermore, Rabbi Elyakim Schlessinger relates that when the state held its first elections and the Beis Din of the Edah Charedis in Jerusalem issued their ruling forbidding Jews to vote, and the Agudists used the Chazon Ish's name to fight a propaganda campaign against the Edah, the Chazon Ish sent him to Rabbi Pinchas Epstein, rav of the Edah, to give him encouragement in standing by his negative ruling. Rabbi Shmuel Chortkov relates that he asked the Chazon Ish if he should vote, and the Chazon Ish said no. (ibid. pp. 159-161)

Furthermore, all versions agree that the Chazon Ish himself did not vote, for he even refused to register himself as an Israeli citizen or take out an identity card. (ibid. p. 163) This was attested to by Rabbi Refoel Halperin, Rabbi Moshe Scheinfeld, and Rabbi Kalman Cahana.

For more Chazon Ish quotes, go to http://www.truetorahjews.org/chazonish