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How should we react to Rabbi Kanievsky's ban on Arab labor?

March 25, 2008

Dear TTJ:

Please keep up the good work with the Torah True Jews web site, showing that Zionism is wrong, according to the Torah.

What would be the proper Torah True Jews response to the following?

"Top Hareidi Rabbi Bans Arab Labor Following Merkaz HaRav Attack"

Thank you.

Yaakov Schwartz

Dear Mr. Schwartz,

It is true that as a general rule in the world, a Jew should try to hire other Jews in order to give them a livelihood. But as in all matters of charity, one must keep in mind the consideration of "eivah" that one's charity should not lead to non-Jews hating Jews. For example, when confronted with several poor people asking for donations, one should not give only the Jews and leave out the non-Jews, because that would lead to hatred. Here too, if one can be socher es chaveiro and the akum lo yedo mizeh, fine, but if haakum yeda he should not be mavchin.

I would not have been surprised if Rabbi Kanievsky had told the administrators privately tzu probiren nisht tzu dingen bnei ktura mikan ulehaba. But according to the article, he told them 1) to fire their current Arab employees, and 2) to publicize his decision. These two aspects of the decision shocked me.

Also, he was quoted as saying that "we are at war with the Arabs." I think it is the Zionists who are at war with the Arabs, and anyone using the word "we" is identifying himself as a Zionist. I respect Rabbi Kanievsky, have personally met him, and have studied some of his Torah works; as such, I would like to be "melamed zchus" and say that he was misquoted by the reporters on this last point.

Update: see the current events section of our site for Rabbi Kanievsky's denial of the above statement.

Seeking to clear up the issue, we wrote Rabbi Kanievsky a respectful letter asking whether he indeed made the controversial statement. His characteristically brief reply was "I did not say this thing."

The cryptic answer leaves it unclear exactly what the rabbi said and what he did not say. However, it is now clear that his words were falsified by the Zionist media, and one can no longer believe any of the story with certainty.

See also this correspondence for a complete version of our letter to Rabbi Kanievsky and his reply.

You might also want to look at this evidence about Rav Kanievsky's position on the Three Oaths.

Dear TTJ,

Thank you for your response.

What would the Torah True Jews response be to the article of 02/06/08 that was commented on in the Current News area of the Torah True Jews web site, "Religious Zionists Hold Mass Prayer Against Jerusalem Partition," where it says that, "The event received the blessings of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv.'

Is Rabbi Elyashiv, a Zionist?

I don't think so. As far as I know, he has never published or publicized a ruling permitting a state or obligating Jews to continue running the state. However, he has done and said many things that allow Zionists to claim that he supports their position. Until 1972 he was a judge in the Zionist state's rabbinate, and he left only in protest against Rabbi Goren for permitting the mamzerim. Recently he has approved of several prayer rallies whose organizers advocate Zionist rule over all of Jerusalem. It certainly sounds to the public as if he agrees with that position. But if you read the fine print of the kol korei (I have attached a Hebrew copy) it just says that "talks are going on about arrangements that could put whole populations into danger, including Jerusalem" and that we must pray for the safety of Jews everywhere. So we could understand it to mean that even if giving up Jerusalem is the right thing to do, it still brings with it an undeniable danger, and therefore we must pray. But the fact is that the people who attend these prayers are mostly praying that Olmert should be prevented from giving back the land.

Chazal say that when Moshe was gone for one extra hour beyond the time the Jews thought he was coming down from the mountain, "the Satan came and mixed up the world" so that the Jews would worship the golden calf. In our century we have witnessed what "the Satan mixing up the world" looks like. Centuries-old empires crumbled overnight, placing Palestine in the hands of a power that promised it to the Jews, while the Jews of Europe suddenly found themselves in mortal danger. Rabbis spoke against Zionism, but almost all of them were strangely silenced after 1948 and even more so after 1967. The Jewish world was in a shambles after the Holocaust and rabbis focused all their energies on building it back up, not on leading controversial crusades. The Gemara foretells that before the coming of moshiach "the truth will be absent" and this is what we see today when gedolim are silent and people ascribe to them pro-Zionist views.