web analytics
August 31, 2014 / 5 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

In Defense of Rabbi Druckman

Why would you expect the leaders of the Jewish Home to listen to rabbis who didn’t get them elected?

Rabbi Chaim Druckman with a friend.

Rabbi Chaim Druckman with a friend.
Photo Credit: Marc Israel Sellem/POOL/FLASH90

A thousand words is not enough for a response to the withering attack being mounted against Haredi Zionist rabbis on the matter of selecting a chief rabbi.  The not-so-personal case of Rabbi Chaim Druckman, though, is representative. Since I know Rabbi Druckman as a man who takes things to heart in more ways than one, I gave him a call.  I consoled him, noting that in my estimation the “threatening” letter to Rabbi David Stav was not published by those who had attended the meeting at his home, but rather by opponents who disseminated the letter in order to get a boost in the media.

“Of course I know that,” said Rabbi Hayim, “but how do you?”

“Rabbi,” I answered, “I may not know how to study a page of Gemara, but I can give a good  lesson on how to read a newspaper.  The letter doesn’t contain any threat.  It’s very strident, but when push comes to shove, it’s as respectful as possible: a last-ditch call to Rabbi Stav not to run for the position of chief rabbi, despite the opposition of a good portion of the national religious rabbinate.  The assertion that his candidacy would create a rift between him and them wasn’t intended for the media.

The letter, titled “Threatening Letter from Rabbi Druckman against Rabbi Stav,” was released to the media by PR specialists working for Rabbi Stav, who decided to score some points at the expense of Rabbi Druckman and others who attended the meeting.

Rabbi Druckman sighed.  He may have enjoyed my media commentary, but, two months past his eightieth birthday, he has found himself in a war whose rules are not clear to him in the least.

*                              *                              * The proof for my thesis quickly arrived with the media gimmick’s second stage: a letter bearing the signatures of a hundred rabbis and lecturers who came out against the “threatening letter” to Rabbi David Stav.  He suddenly had become the attack-victim to whom everyone must throw his support.  Perhaps they couldn’t gather a hundred signatures in favor of his candidacy, but they could turn the issue on its head: simply gather a hundred signatures against the opposition.  And why waste more money than necessary on huge ads in the secular press?  Just have those other national religious rabbis labeled in the secular press as old-fashioned fanatics and Haredi Zionists, and let the new national religious trend continue to advance.  Secular Knesset members, for their part, including those in the Likud, won’t dare vote for any move to put Rabbi Ya’akov Ariel or anyone else of his sort in the office of the chief rabbi.

I asked a certain friend of mine, a rabbi who had signed the second letter but was not affiliated with Rabbi Stav, why he had put his name to it.  Contrary to my view, he felt that the letter to Rabbi Stav was too aggressive, and therefore signed onto the protest letter.  He really didn’t know, though, that it would be published in the general media in giant, paid ads.

“They used you, Rabbi,” I said.

“True,” he answered, “but that won’t make me excuse myself from my duty to protest”—even though, he granted, he does not think that Rabbi Stav should be the chief rabbi.

My friend is a principled man.  Rabbi Stav’s strategists are a bunch of connivers.

Bennet’s Debt to Rabbi Lior

Rabbi Druckman, who is an example to so many members of the national religious community, thought that since Naftali Bennett and his people had come to him to enlist his support before the elections, they would be faithful to him in the aftermath.  Perhaps not absolutely, but at least on basic ideological and spiritual matters, such as selecting a chief rabbi.

No such luck.  Or, as it was put this week by Colonel Moshe Hager, head of the pre-military academy system and a divisional chief of staff in the IDF: “You can quote me on this: Bennett is playing with the rabbis.  He invited me to meetings with rabbis.  After two meetings, I understood that they were for public consumption: at the end of the day, he does what he wants.  I’m not going to any more of those.”

*                              *                              * Here is a statement of defense against the sophisticated campaign that is playing out in the media, brought to you by one old-fashioned but authentic advocate:

Why would you expect the leaders of the Jewish Home to listen to rabbis who didn’t get them elected?

Bennett and his associates did receive mandates from secular voters, but he would not have been able to assume leadership of the Jewish Home if not for the rabbis who gave him their support: Rabbi Druckman, Rabbi Aviner, even Haredi Zionists Rabbi Dov Lior and Rabbi Eliezer Melamed.  All of them oppose Bennett’s candidate, Rabbi Stav.  If these rabbis had taken a stand against Bennett, he never would have made it into the list of Knesset candidates.  The leaders of the Jewish Home have got to understand that rabbis are not a disposable commodity.

Why should rabbis decide questions of public policy (the big question)?

We always saw rabbis as our leaders in all things spiritual, not just in strictly halachic matters.  Now some people want to reduce the rabbis to kashrut supervisors, while making themselves into the spiritual leaders.  Yet we have not yet forgotten the days when Rabbi Avraham Shapira and Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu waged a public fight against the Disengagement, or the days of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook in the hills of Samaria.

But it’s more than that.  If the rabbis don’t get to make a decision even when it comes to the matter of choosing rabbis, that means we aren’t really interested in public rabbinic leadership at all.  It means that we want our rabbis to be good spokespeople, not great Torah scholars.

That “something new” that is getting started in the Jewish Home is really a certain style of self-interested competition in which the opposition is crushed by a horde of PR specialists, strategists, and plenty of money.  Until recently, most of the activists of the Religious Zionist community were not familiar with this way of doing business, but—sadly and embarrassingly—they are quickly becoming acquainted.

First published in Makor Rishon (print edition)

Translated from Hebrew by David B. Greenberg

About the Author: Lt.-Col. (ret.) Meir Indor is CEO of Almagor Terror Victims Association. In his extended career of public service, he has worked as a journalist, founded the Libi Fund, Sar-El, Habaita, among many other initiatives, and continues to lend his support to other pressing causes of the day.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “In Defense of Rabbi Druckman”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
MK Hanin Zoabi, under the protection of the Israeli flag, speaks against Israel.
Zoabi Sings Palestinian Authority Anthem at Hamas ‘Victory’ Rally
Latest Indepth Stories
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz reviewing maps on the Golan Heights.

The bad news is that ISIS and Al Qaeda are on the Syrian Golan. The good news is that every terrorist in Syria is killing each other.

TorahScroll AoT17

The congregants, Ethiopians spanning generations, were beaming with joy and pride.

Troodler-082914

The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip nine years ago did not enhance Israel’s security.

Eisenstock-082914

How does a soldier from a religious home fall in love with a soldier from a non- religious kibbutz?

In 19th century entire ancient Jewish communities fled Palestine to escape brutal Muslim authorities

Responsibility lies with both the UN and Hamas, and better commitments should have been demanded from both parties in the ceasefire.

But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.

If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.

Reportedly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc that seeks to counter Islamist influence in the Middle East.

One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.

While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.

We risk our lives to help those who do what they can to kill to our people .

Twain grasped amazingly well the pulse of the Jewish people.

The entertainment industry appears divided about the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

More Articles from Meir Indor
Omar Barghouti BDS

By warning of a boycott, “Israel’s captains of industry” are actually encouraging one.

Zeev (Zambish) Chever, a friend of late former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, eulogizing him.

Sometimes one must love with one’s eyes closed.

The message from the recent episode near Eish Kodesh is clear: violence pays.

“Arise, Reb Yechiel—honored with the firing of one bomb!”

Instead of being treated as common criminals, Palestinian terrorists receive an exceptional degree of autonomy within the prison walls.

Instead of giving new young couples some time in public housing until they’re ready to move forward, they want to give away the apartments to people who have been reaping the benefits for years.

Terrorism has become a military tool of states, not just sub-national organizations.

The top Israeli advocate for letting the terrorists out of jail is none other than Shimon Peres.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/in-defense-of-rabbi-druckman/2013/06/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: