Photo Credit: Hadas Parush / Flash 90
Rav Kook’s kever

After the Noam Party dropped out of last month’s race for Knesset two days before the election, it reportedly was approached by Yahadut HaTorah (United Torah Judaism). Declare your support for us, said party representatives, and we’ll make sure that the Har HaMor Yeshiva (which is associated with Noam) will receive its proper share of government funding.

The Jewish Press asked Noam Party head Rav Dror Aryeh abut this story.

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The Jewish Press: Are the rumors true about Yahadut HaTorah and Noam true?

Rav Aryeh: More or less. We told them that before we consider the proposition, they should first send a minyan of rabbis to Har HaZeisim to the gravesite of Rav Kook, z”l, and beg forgiveness for the slander and dishonor that the zealots of the charedi community of the Old Yishuv in Jerusalem heaped on him.

What sort of dishonor to Rabbi Kook are you talking about?

The charedi community opposed Rav Kook’s appreciation of the secular Zionist pioneers who were rebuilding the Land of Israel and returning the scattered nation to its borders. The charedi community banned Rav Kook’s writings; accused him of encouraging the playing of soccer on Shabbat; slandered him viciously on their street posters, calling him the new Yeshu, G-d forbid; and hung a full-size doll of him in effigy in Meah Sha’arim.

That was almost a hundred years ago. Why bring it up now?

In the Yahadut HaTorah community, the cherem on Rabbi Kook continues even though leading poskim such as Rav Yosef Shalom Eliashiv and Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach revered Rav Kook and regarded him as the gadol hador of our time.

His books are still banned in charedi yeshivot, and, in the eyes of a large part of the charedi world, the students of Rav Kook are barely considered rabbis.

Who made the decision to condition support for Yahadut HaTorah on asking Rav Kook for mechilah?

The party’s spiritual leader, HaRav Tzvi Yisrael Tau.

What was Yahadut HaTorah’s reaction to your demand?

The conversation with them ended, but if they undertake to do sincere teshuvah over the shaming of such a great talmid chocham, then, in future elections, we will evaluate the possibility of some kind of joint understanding.

Your party failed to garner 3.25 percent in the polls (the minimum necessary to make it into the Knesset). Does that mean voters didn’t identify with your party’s call for holiness and true Jewish identity in Israel?

Not at all. A broad majority of people in Israel believe that a family means a father and mother – not Parent One and Parent Two or Abba One and Abba Two. Until we began to expose this cultural treason against Am Yisrael, people were afraid to speak out against it for fear of being labeled a fascist.

Approximately 70,000 people were prepared to vote for us, and more than 200,000 more were considering it. But since there was a chance that we wouldn’t reach the required number to win a place in the Knesset, we decided to withdraw from the race so votes wouldn’t be wasted.

Our endeavor wasn’t a failure. Our goal was to wake up the public to the insidious cultural and spiritual war that foreign organizations are waging against us in all spheres of Israeli life with the intention of replacing the Jewish values of the State with so-called “enlightened” forms of heathenism and progressive secularism. In this we succeeded.

Several party leaders and Knesset members on the right have approached me and promised to do what they can to combat this carefully-planned and heavily endowed campaign to undermine the foundations of the State.

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