Why are there Satmar Jews living in Eretz Yisroel?

02/12/09

Do you believe that Hashem would davka prefer Jews to live in Chutz Laaretz? If so, how would you explain that there is a nice Satmar population living in Israel? What are the dangerous influences that exist specifically in Israel and not in Chutz Laaretz. How would this influence in Israel practically affect a frum Jew?

Yes, as we say in Tefilas Musaf, Because of our sins we were exiled from our land. Hashem wants the bulk of the Jewish people to live in Chutz Laaretz until Moshiach comes.

There is nothing wrong with a few Jews living in Eretz Yisroel during exile. The Satmar Rav wanted to live there himself, and he only left because he wanted to raise money and give tzedaka and he could not do that in Eretz Yisroel. He never told his Chassidim who lived there to leave.

But this has to be only a few. It cannot be too many, otherwise the decree of exile is not fulfilled. The Ramban writes on Parshas Ki Savo that Hashem promises to protect us during exile, as long as the basic decree of Jews living in Chutz Laaretz is fulfilled. Therefore, if most Jews live in Chutz Laaretz, even those few living in Eretz Yisroel will enjoy Hashem’s protection.

Furthermore, as I explained above, it is inconsistent to condemn something and then accept benefits from it. If a Jew living in Eretz Yisroel feels that he is benefiting from the state, because he thinks that the Arabs are murderers and the state is protecting him from them, then he should not live there. However, if a Jew advocates the dismantling of the state and has no problem living under an Arab government, he may live in Eretz Yisroel.

Of course, this is only true provided that one has determined that living in Eretz Yisroel now - under the Zionists - is not dangerous. That is a very big question and is subject to change by the day.

Keep in mind that many of the Satmar community in Eretz Yisroel would like to leave but cannot. There is no country with a viable Jewish community that would take them in. The Satmar Rebbe's encouragement and support of his community there should not be understood as a statement that they ideally be there, but just as an effort to sustain them so that they should not have to bow to the Zionists and accept their help.