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What defines a Jewish country? And why is accepting government funding from America allowed?

Hi. I’m a chareidi Agudist and I have some questions.

Do you agree with the following statement from R Aviner?


Q: Why don't Charedim serve in Tzahal?

A: They are good and righteous people, but they err in this area (Even the current Satmar Rebbe says: "If you recognize the government and are supported by it – what justification do you have to abstain from serving in the army?!"Mishpachah Magazine #1085, 29 Kislev 5773)."

Also, I have a question about taking money. As I understand it, one of the reasons that you don't take money from the Israeli Government is that there is an automatic influence from the giver on the receiver. ( Beirach Moshe somewhere in shmos- I'm sure you're aware of all the sources.) How then do you justify taking money from the American government? Don't you know that we have a president who supports Gay marriage?! (And any state money given to KJ comes from a state that recognizes Gay Marriage.)

Thank you very much.

Hi and thanks for your excellent questions. We agree that taking money from the state but refusing to fight for it might appear to be an inconsistent position. However, the proponents of taking money often compare it to negotiating with a band of robbers to save whatever can be saved, and not letting them steal everything. Here too, the Zionists raise millions around the world from ignorant Jews who think they are supporting a Jewish cause, and we have the right to divert it to a true Jewish cause – Torah study. Again, this is not our position, but I am just telling you what the proponents of this position would say.

What is truly inconsistent is to approve of the state, to serve in the Knesset or vote for those who do, and support the state’s wars, yet refuse to participate in those very same wars. This is what the quotation you sent me was referring to. Where is there a Torah source that yeshiva students should not have to serve? On the contrary, it is clear in the Torah that the soldiers in the Jewish army had to be the best tzaddikim, who had no sins at all. We believe that religious Jews in Eretz Yisroel must make their position clear. They must stop this excuse about the “yeshiva students” not serving and say unequivocally, “None of us will serve in the army, whether we are in yeshiva or working, because we do not approve of the existence of the army and what it does.” We must be conscientious objectors.

Finally, you asked about why it’s allowed to take American government money, if politicians here have adopted gay marriage legislation. The answer is that this is not a problem with the essence of the United States; it’s just that the current policy of the government reflects the majority of its voters, and the majority of the voters (in NY state) happen to want these laws passed. That is how democracy works. If we want to change it back, we can only do so by convincing the majority of voters that the Torah’s morality is the right thing. But taking government funding is just getting our rightful piece of the pie; we pay taxes to a legitimate government here, whose existence we approve of, so we should get no less than any other citizens.

I hope this answers your questions.
Wishing you a chag kasher vesameach,

Thanks for your prompt response.
Another question: the Satmar Rav lashes out at 'the head of the Agudah' for agreeing to a clause that he will respect democracy, not try to force anyone to keep Torah etc. Does the same go for Chuck Schumer or any other Jewish politician who swears to uphold the US constitution which recognizes freedom of Religion ( including AZ beshituf or atheist or even Religious- Zionist?)

Also, can you explain what exactly makes something a Jewish country? Let me explain: In 2000 we came very close to having Joe Lieberman elected vice president of the USA (His ticket won more popular votes than G.W. Bush). Had Gore won the election and then died, we would have had a Jewish president.
Now, there were also rumors that PM Ariel Sharon is not halachically Jewish. If (hypothetically) both scenarios came to pass, and the USA started up with Israel, who would be doing the Meridah?

In your response to Rabbi Gil Student you write:

"Rabbi Student implies that standard, sane anti-Zionists would like to see the state dismantled, but only on condition that it falls into the hands of someone other than the Palestinians. The fact is that we want the state dismantled, and after that it is none of our business who gains control, any more than it is our business who controls Iraq, Iran or Australia. We are not going to make any conditions." Anyone who makes conditions is in effect a Zionist because he is saying, I will give it away but only to so-and-so, as if he had the ownership and the right to decide.

The Satmar Rav did write (Al Hageulah V'al Hatemurah, Chapter 44) that it would be possible to solve the problem peacefully through the United Nations. But surely the United Nations would not maintain control of the land for very long. They would reach a decision on who should rule it, and implement that decision. Of course, Jews in their role as an exiled people could send representatives to the U.N. to request that whoever gains power treat the Jews nicely. But to do more than that would be stepping out of our exilic role. "

Do you believe that the Jews in Israel (including the Eidah Hacharedis) wouldn't get massacred? Or do you believe that's not our business because first we have to get rid of the golden calf, leave the rest up to Hashem, not interfere with His providence, stay within our "exilic role" etc?

(Please don't reply that it's the Zionists fault that the Arabs hate us. That is irrelevant. I'm not here to defend Ben Gurion or Ben Yehuda. I'm talking about the current situation. I'm quite convinced that Hamas doesn't love R Moshe Sternbuch anymore than the Zionist R Yisrael Meir Lau and would kill both infidels if they could).

3a) Do you believe even Brisk agrees with this? There is a story with Rabbi Yisroel Grossman who was in Israeli jail and the leaders of Neturei Karta came to him and told him not to speak to the judge and to say that he doesn’t recognize the state, but the Brisker Rav told him to negotiate. Doesn’t this show the Brisker Rav recognized the state?

>Does the same go for Chuck Schumer or any other Jewish politician who swears to uphold the US constitution which recognizes freedom of Religion…

Democracy is good for a non-Jewish country like America, or like the Palestine we wish were there instead of the State of Israel. The SR's point is that l'shitasam, if the medinah claims to be a real Jewish messianic state, it should enforce Judaism, not tolerate freedom of religion. But of course l'shitaseinu the whole thing is forbidden to exist in any form, even religious.

> Also, can you explain what exactly makes something a Jewish country?

A country that has a Jewish majority and has laws that discriminate in favor of that majority - for example, the Law of Return. I say "and" because it would be theoretically possible for Jews to be the majority but have no power, like the blacks in South Africa during apartheid, and then it would be permitted. But any truly democratic state with a Jewish majority would be considered Jewish, because the Jews in effect would rule it, even without discriminatory laws. And kal vachomer the State of Israel that has discriminatory laws as well.

> In 2000 we came very close to having Joe Lieberman...

No, it has nothing to do with who is president. For example, Arafat said in his original platform for Fatah in 1968 that his goal was one democratic state for Jews and Arabs, in which Hebrew and Arabic are both official languages and a Jew could be elected president. Halacha would also approve of such a state, provided the Jews would be a minority.

> Do you believe that the Jews in Israel (including the Eidah Hacharedis) wouldn't get massacred?

I don't know whether there will be violence and massacres. It could be that there will be some small scale violence. I can tell you, however, that that would be safer than the current situation in which the state exists, its Jewish population continues to rise and millions of lives are in danger.

The question of whether there will be bloodshed is not an article of faith. If you think that your life would be in danger living in a Palestinian state, then don't live there. There are other places in the world to live, such as Europe and Russia who suffer from population decline and would welcome Jewish immigrants. Pikuach nefesh is not a heter to do an aveirah when there is another option.

On the story with the Brisker Rav: He held one should negotiate with their courts just like one would negotiate with a band of robbers. That doesn't mean he held they have a right to exist, any more than a band of robbers has the right to exist.