On Sunday, April 4, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat paid a visit to Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, a prominent rabbi of the Ashkenazic haredi community of Jerusalem, at his home in Meah Shearim in honor of the Jewish festival of Pesach. During the course of conversation, the 100-year-old Rabbi Elyashiv told the mayor, “We must not ignore the United States. They must be listened to.”
Rabbi Elyashiv was commenting on the recent tension between the State of Israel and the United States over building in East Jerusalem.
The seven-minute meeting was also attended by Deputy Mayor Yitzchak Pindrus.
Pindrus mentioned efforts by Barkat to reduce the violation of the Jewish Sabbath in Jerusalem, but the conversation quickly shifted to the most burning issue: the tension with the U.S. over building in Jerusalem. Rabbi Elyashiv warned that the Zionist state must not ignore the United States, which he called a malchus shel chessed (nation of kindness), and added that “we need much Heavenly mercy.”
This comment stands in stark contrast to the words of so many of the rabbi's self-proclaimed followers, who currently denounce the Obama administration and advocate continued building in East Jerusalem.
The cover-up of this story in many "Haredi" Zionist news sites shows us something about the agenda of those sites. All of them will declare that Rabbi Elyashiv is their rabbinic leader, but when he says something in opposition to their views, they will try their best to ignore it.
For example, The Yeshiva World reported the story as follows:
"Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Sunday, erev yomtov, visit the home of Maran HaGaon HaRav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv Shlita. The mayor was accompanied by Deputy Mayor R’ Yitzchak Pindrus. The mayor wished to extend his yomtov wishes to the gadol hador."
In the same vein, we recall an incident that took place several months ago. Rabbi Elyashiv is generally viewed as the leading rabbi in support of the school of thought that while Orthodox Jews should oppose Zionism, they should send representatives to the Zionist Knesset in order to defend their interests. However, on December 29, 2009, in the course of a Talmudic lecture analyzing the prohibition of entering a place of heresy, Rav Elyashiv, quoting the words of the Talmud, said that in certain situations it is permitted to enter such places in order to debate with nonbelievers. When someone in the audience asked whether this would apply to Knesset representation, Rav Elyashiv asked, “Do they accomplish anything by sitting in the Knesset?” “They try to accomplish,”said the questioner. “Then let them stay home and try to help from there,” said Rav Elyashiv.
Of course, apart from a brief report in the media, this comment went ignored by the religious parties, who continue to serve in the Knesset.