Do Not Disregard the Words of the Satmar Rebbe – Just Change the Emphasis

The current New York based Rebbe of the Satmer sect of Hassidism, Aaron Teitelbaum, has reportedly blamed the parents of the three kidnapped and murdered youth for their own sons’ demise. Make no mistake, the Rebbe’s pronouncements were full of pain and anguish at the loss; true pain and true anguish. At the same time, with all of the pain, the Rebbe blamed the parents for sending their children to learn in an area surrounded by Arab terrorists and murderers.

To be honest, the Rebbe’s verdict against the parents is harsh and exaggerated, but at a certain level not without truth. I would, however, change two things in his verdict. It is not the parents that are guilty, but rather the entire religious Zionist movement and particularly the religious Zionist settlers, of which I am to be counted. In essence, what the Rebbe is saying is that there is no point in unnecessarily putting our loved ones in harm’s way, and truth be told, the religious Zionists are absolutely guilty of such a crime. While the Rebbe of Satmer may have the entire Jewish world sitting in a safe bunker somewhere on the bottom of an ocean, far from the anti-Semitic potentiality now gathering steam the entire world over, it is clear that those that choose to live in Judea and Samaria, as well as their supporters, do not take their lives seriously enough and indeed do violate the spirit and law of Judaism on a daily basis.

When the government of Israel decided to release Arab terrorist murderers the writing was on the wall – the senseless murder of the three youth all but guaranteed. This was known by all of us and yet, we did not do a thing. When the army took down essential roadblocks which allowed for the free intermingling of Jew and Arab on the roads of Judea and Samaria, the writing was on the wall, the tragic atrocity of the three murdered youth just waiting to happen – as it did. We did nothing to stop the tragedy.

And now, when it hurts so much, when the pain is unbearable, we play our guitars, talk about unity and say our Psalms. This is inexcusable and we must take the blame! If the settlers CANNOT learn that the saving of a soul is far more important than eloquent eulogies for the dead, than perhaps the Satmer Rebbe’s condemnation of Zionism is correct as well.

The religious Zionist enterprise in Israel numbers hundreds of thousands of followers and thousands of Rabbis. Still, with all of the economic and social power that we wield, we have not been able to stop one thing that endangers the wellbeing of our families and the wellbeing of the entire State of Israel. We did not stop the Disengagement and we did not stop the release of Arab terrorists from Israeli prisons.


The disaster of these policies are now fully in front of us for all to see, with the entire Southern region of Israel under fire and with the burying of three beautiful, pure, energetic and happy youth. Where is our commitment to Pikuach Nefesh, the saving of a soul?

Sadly, we have no such commitment. We are great at memorializing, but terrible at stopping the plague because we simply cannot allow our lives to be stopped to do what has to be done. We have grown callous, fat and lazy. While it is relatively easy to cry for a few days over the dead, it is far harder to take action that will not allow the government to endanger the entire country.

The irony is that we DO have the power. We have thousands of soldiers that should be recalled to home by family and rabbinic teachers immediately upon the government raising the idea of releasing prisoners. Let the army jail the soldiers. Let them try! It is not about desertion – they are not deserters, but rather dissenters, with the full support of the parents and leaders. If there is a crisis, they will return to the army, but the point will have been made.

Our population consists of thousands of doctors, lawyers, bank managers, teachers, nurses, bus drivers, engineers, researchers, accountants, business owners. It is within our power to shut the country down should we really and truly be committed to the saving of a soul BEFORE tragedy strikes. But we are not committed to this. We are committed to making money as is the rest of the country. We live as if the State of Israel has already been established, the hard work and sacrifice behind us. But Israel is still in its beginnings and if we cannot make the sacrifice of a couple of weeks of work, or of not  paying our taxes, en masse!, until the government stops endangering its people, than we are indeed just as guilty as the government.

Democracies are protected and served by the people, not by the government. The job of the people is to ensure that the government is doing its job – which is to guarantee the safety of its citizens. Why do we continue to think that we, the simple people, the non-elected, have no say in assuring that the government acts in accordance with its mandate? Why did not three thousand rabbis, intellectuals, political leaders chain themselves to the Knesset in a mass hunger strike before the countless Arab murderers were released from jail? The answer, sadly, is because we do not really care. We are fat and satiated. In my humble opinion, the Rebbe of Satmer is one million fold more sensitive to the life of each and every single Jew than are the religious Zionists. Something to think about……………………..

About the Author
Asher Keren writes about science and philosophy, is an author and religious settler who has lived in Israel for over thirty years.
Related Topics
Related Posts