(Hamodia weekly edition - interview by Yosef Rapaport). Rabbi Israel Eichler, the UTJ faction chairman and Member of Knesset, came to America from Jerusalem on a special mission for the Belzer Rebbe shlita, to help in forging a new media channel intended to combat American Jewish assimilation.
In an interview to the English-Orthodox Jewish newspaper Hamodia, MK Eichler spoke about the ongiong Media incitement against the Charedi-Ultra Orthodox Jewish community in Israel.
h/t to the Hamodia editor for sharing with us the PDF file for our online readers.
Hamodia: Former Mossad Chief Efraim Halevy claims that “Chareidi radicalization poses a bigger risk than Ahmadinejad.” What is your response?
Eichler: I was at the convention of Agudath Israel about 10 years ago, and I warned then that the fact that we are ignoring incitement against frum people in Israel by the media will cost us dearly.
There is a known vort: There may be multiple reasons why we bury a dead person, but the primary reason is that he doesn’t resist; just try burying a live person — he will resist you. We have permitted ourselves to be buried in the media.
Hamodia: Many secular people think that chareidim have a monolithic approach to questions facing Israel. You represent the Belzer Rebbe and the Belzer community. The Rebbe is known to have a more nuanced, moderate view on many issues. Can you articulate that approach for us?
Eichler: "I tell the secular community who accuse us of being a monolithic herd that I don’t know of any other group that is more pluralistic than the chareidi community. There is no community that has so many different newspapers, with different points of view, than ours. It will be up to Moshiach to unite us all.
Nobody asks us if Shalit should be brought home or not, or about our view on economic matters. They might think to ask us if a spoon fell into a pot, if it’s kosher, and not even that. Since the Arab upheavals I don’t think the issue of land for peace or security is something on which we might take a different approach. As long as there were strong leaders who could enforce agreements, such as there was in Egypt, you could have had a debate if it is appropriate. Baruch Hashem, it has held for 35 years, but that was because they had a strong leader to enforce it. I hope this will not change.
Today we have nobody to talk to among the Arabs; no strong leader who could enforce a peace treaty, so the question of approach is not relevant. But in principle it is clear that for a chareidi Jew pikuach nefesh — saving lives — is paramount.
Hamodia: Do you support the protesters in Tel Aviv and their economic demands?
Eichler: "Our community is part of the poor sector in Israel. When the poor are assaulted, that means our community is assaulted. But isn’t it better for all sectors if the economy grows?
[This was the story given by] Netanyahu when he served as Minister of Finance in 2003. He claimed that when a locomotive pulls ahead, it pulls the rest of the train. So the more fuel you give the locomotive, the stronger the pull. I always remind him that the locomotive left the station but the rest of the train was left at the station.
I have a very good relationship with the revolution. We have very good communications with them. This could have easily been turned against frum people. There are many instigators seeking to blame the chareidim for all the economic ills that plague Israel.
I was in constant contact with the organizers; I told them that we represent the largest group of poor families. If you are going to politicize the struggle, then you will lose our support. They promised us that they will prevent this from turning into a fight against the Orthodox. In the meantime the revolution has not turned against us."