Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, the Lubavitcher Rebbe (1880-1950)

The straight-thinking Jew looks on in astonishment, thinking: what do these rebels against G-d and His Torah have to do with the Land of Israel? (Mishmeres Chomoseinu 20 Shvat 5716)

I hereby join with the honored rabbis who oppose and protest against Mizrachi and the like. They do not walk in the spirit of the Torah. I wish to convey in writing that the Jewish people should separate themselves from this terrible desecration. Let the defiled leave the face of the Holy Land! (Om Ani Chomah, 5709 ch. 4 p. 400)

We are foresworn by the covenant of G-d that we cannot overcome [exile] with might or power, only by understanding and knowing the word and command of G-d. (ibid.)

In the early 1920’s, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, wrote a fiery pamphlet opposing settlement in Eretz Yisroel. He refers to the following Midrash on Shir Hashirim 2:8, which gives a reason for the scattering of the Jewish people: G-d has decreed that they must be in exile in all 70 nations of the world. If they all stick together, it will take a very long time for them to go to all 70 nations. By spreading apart, Jews fulfill the decree of exile much more quickly:

“The voice of my beloved, behold it has come” (Shir Hashirim 2:8) – this refers to the king moshiach. When moshiach comes and says to the Jewish people, “In this month you will be redeemed,” they will say to him, “Our teacher, king moshiach, how can we be redeemed? Didn’t the Holy One, blessed is He, say that He is exiling us under the seventy nations?” And he will give them two answers: “One of you goes into exile in Barbary and another of you goes into exile in Sumatra (in the Pesikta Rabasi the text reads: Britain), and it will be considered as if you all went to these places.” The second answer is, “The government appoints local governors from various nations. If one Cuthean, for instance, becomes a ruler over the Jews, although the central government may not be Cuthean, it is considered as if the Jewish people were in exile under the Cuthean people.

If one travels around the world and looks at Jewish communities, he will see that, thank G-d, the Jewish people is alive and well. Although our enemies (who intend to be enemies but are actually benefactors) persecute us, still every city has a cheder, a yeshiva and charity organizations. When a religious Jew comes to a new place and gets settled, he will, with the encouragement of gedolim, help build one of these institutions. As the Midrash says (on Shir Hashirim 2:8), when one Jew lives in Barbary and another lives in Britain, it is considered as if the whole Jewish people went to these places and this fulfills the decree of exile to the seventy nations. We must believe with complete faith that when moshiach comes, he and Hashem will be more pleased with the cheder, the shul and the charity institution founded by the Jews in exile, in Barbary and Britain, than with the factory and workshop founded, G-d forbid, in Jerusalem the holy city. (Tikun Olam, Siman 41)