Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
UTJ Chairman Rabbi Yitzchak Goldknopf arrives at the coalition talks in Jerusalem, November 6, 2022.

United Torah Judaism Chairman MK Yitzhak Goldknopf on Saturday night came to the shiva of Tamir Avichai Hy’d, one of the three murdered Jews in last week’s terrorist attack near the Ariel industrial area in Samaria, and declared: “The expansion of Jewish settlements is the proper response to the murderous terrorism that seeks to push us out of the land of our forefathers,” Hidabrut reported.

While this statement is the norm when it comes to the national religious crowd, hearing this Zionist declaration from a senior Haredi leader such as Goldknopf is newsworthy. The Haredi movements have traditionally rejected political Zionism with Agudath Israel, Goldknopf’s party, leading this rejectionism. At the same time, since its inception, Agudah has been torn between its criticism, even fear, of the damages of secular Zionism, and its yearning to resettle Eretz Israel.


The Gur dynasty, which comprised the majority of Polish Hasidim before the war, has always been “a little Zionist,” and Gur Rebbes encouraged their followers to make Aliyah, which is why they continue to be the dominant Hasidic movement in Agudah today. Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Alter, the Imrei Emes, one of the founders of the Agudas Israel in Poland, was known as “a shtikle Zionist” (a little Zionist). Goldknopf hails from Gur.

“It breaks my heart to see the family of Tamir Hy’d, who was murdered by an evil-doer only because he was Jewish,” Goldknopf said at the shiva. “It is our duty as public representatives to act in every way to increase the security of our brethren in the settlement. As I stated during the election campaign, I will support any such initiative.”

How very different from the media’s depiction of Otzma Yehudit Chairman Bezalel Smotrich’s position as being in the minority on the right (If the Establishment Attacks Smotrich So Furiously, He Must Be Doing Something Right). Smotrich and Goldknopf met at the Knesset on Sunday and both registered their “displeasure” with the way Netanyahu has been conducting his coalition negotiations. Let it be known that while Shas leader Aryeh Deri is eager to do Bibi’s biddings, UTJ is no one’s errand boys.

Samaria Council Head Yossi Dagan was also at the shiva and presented Goldknopf with the security problems in the area. “We will not break, we will continue to build and plant,” said Dagan. “What needs to be done here is to restore the roadblocks and completely dismantle the terror infrastructure of the murderous Palestinian Authority. God willing, you will be the new government, and we trust you to bring about change here. It’s in your hands.”


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