How Dare He Speak Against the Rabbi!

Israel’s “corona czar” slams top rabbi over disregard for health guidelines, sparking a religious storm

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: Orthodox Jews, Coronavirus
The rabbi versus the corona czar.
Photo: Flash90

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish publications decried an affront to “Torah authority” after Israel’s government official in charge of managing the Corona crisis dared to call out a prominent rabbi.

Overshadowed in most reporting by the UAE normalization deal, Israel is currently embroiled in a coronavirus-related religious controversy that threatens to bring down the Netanyahu government.

There is great concern that the start of the school year in Israel will result in a spike in coronavirus infections. This is especially true among the ultra-Orthodox community, which has been less compliant with Ministry of Health guidelines than other Israelis.

Exacerbating the situation, one of Israel’s most prominent rabbis, Chaim Kanievsky (pictured, right), this week told students at Orthodox Jewish yeshivas to avoid being tested for COVID-19 so as not to be forced into quarantine and thus disrupt their religious studies. He also told the heads of yeshivas not to quarantine students who had come into contact with coronavirus carriers, as required by the Ministry of Health.

In response to the the rabbi’s disregard for the current health guidelines, Ronni Gamzu (pictured, left), the man in charge of Israel’s coronavirus policies, criticized Kanievsky for putting the entire ultra-Orthodox community at risk.

To put that in context, it’s kind of like what having someone criticize the Pope would be for pious Catholics. It’s simply unacceptable.

And so ultra-Orthodox publications the Yated Neeman daily took aim at Gamzu for “opening his mouth against…the rabbi…in an underhanded comment against Torah authority.”

The Orthodox newspaper HaDerech accused Gamzu of “blatant incitement against the ultra-Orthodox community and its leaders.”

The ultra-Orthodox community at large claims that the authorities are applying double standards in enforcing coronavirus restrictions among religious Jews. As evidence, they note that while the government is trying to prevent ultra-Orthodox mass gatherings, it continues to allow Israeli leftists to gather week after week in nationwide demonstrations against Netanyahu.


Israel Today Membership

Read all member content. Access exclusive, in-depth reports from Israel! Free Zoom events. Connect with Israel right from your home! Raise a voice of truth and hope. Support Faith-based journalism in Jerusalem!


/ month
Full access to Israel Today's Member-only content on all Digital Platforms.
Become a Member


/ year
Full access to Israel Today's Member-only content on all Digital Platforms.
Save 18% Per Month.
Become a Member

Six Months

every 6 months
Full access to Israel Today's Member-only content on all Digital Platforms.
Save 9% Per Month.
Become a Member

Leave a Reply

Israel Today Newsletter

Daily news

FREE to your inbox

Israel Heute Newsletter

Tägliche Nachrichten

KOSTENLOS in Ihrer Inbox

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter