Do anti-Zionist Jews living under the state use its currency and pay taxes?

06/03/07

Dear Rabbi:

How is it possible for the anti-Zionist Jews in Meah Shearim and Bnei Brak to live under the Zionist regime, without paying taxes to the Zionist government and without using the Zionist money for purchases?

What I am asking is, for example: when an anti-Zionist Jew goes to the grocery to buy food, does he use Israeli Shkalim or American dollars? Is he obligated to use the money of the Zionist state, or is there a way for him not to use the Zionist state's money?

When an anti-Zionist Jew goes to work in either of these 2 communities, is he obligated to pay taxes to the Israeli government from his paycheck?
Or do these anti-Zionist communities not work and learn Torah and receive community support from Jews from abroad? How are they able to survive while maintaining distance from the Zionist government?

Thank you.

Zachary Schwartz

Dear Mr. Schwartz,

Many of the anti-Zionist Jews in Eretz Yisroel did not choose to live
under the Zionist regime. They were living there before the regime
took power, or they are descended from people who live there before.
To get into other countries, to get jobs and settle there, is not
easy. Thus they remained there against their will.

There are others who live there by choice, because they want to live
in a certain community where they feel they can serve Hashem better.
Every Jew has to serve Hashem in the way he can do so best - a chassid
as a chassid, a Yerushalmi as a Yerushalmi, a Brisker as a Brisker.
Reb Ahron Katzenellenbogen, leader of Neturei Karta in the early
decades of the state, was a student of the Brisker Rav. Once the
Brisker Rov said that the Zionist State was the most dangerous place
for Jews, both physically and spiritually. Reb Ahron asked him, "If
so, perhaps we should go and live outside Eretz Yisroel." He
replied, Yes, according to halacha perhaps we are obligated to do
that. But since there is no place as good as Yerushalayim for the
proper Jewish education of boys and girls, for it is the only place in
the world where there are no secular studies, we must be moser nefesh
for the education of our children, and Hashem will help us. (Uvdos
Vehanhagos Leveis Brisk, v. 4 p. 207-8)

All those living there, whether against their will or because of some
unrelated good reason, are subjected to many tests of faith. Will they
allow their environment to influence them? Will they help the state in
any way, monetarily or through encouragement? Jews who live there
must know that they are subjecting themselves to tests and they must be
confident that they can pass them.

To answer your specific questions: yes, they do pay taxes and they do use the Zionist money. They try as much as possible to stay away from the Zionist system (e.g.
accepting their funding). But if the government is coming after them for
income taxes, they don't go to jail rather than pay. And when you go into a
grocery store, only shkalim are accepted
and not dollars. (Anti-Zionist Jews do have their own system of
dollars/shkalim money changers who work with the Banks of Jordan and Egypt.)
It is said of the great tzaddik Rabbi Amram Blau that he never took Zionist
currency into his hands. But that level of righteousness cannot be maintained by the
multitudes.