A Rabbi’s Choice Between Two Evils

As another top rabbi comes out stating that Islamists are less dangerous than Jewish leftists, we explore why

| Topics: Elections, Mansour Abbas
Bibi's chances hinge largely on Mansour Abbas, leader of the Islamist party Ra'am, and whether or not other right-wing parties will cooperate with this anti-Zionist faction. Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Rabbi Zvi Tau, head of the influential Har Hamor yeshiva and spiritual leader of the Noam political party, issued a letter yesterday, just 48 hours before Netanyahu’s deadline to form a government, calling for a right-wing coalition with the support of Ra’am, the local political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Tau’s is the last effort to convince all the right-wing parties to unite under Netanyahu and swallow the bitter pill of relying on Ra’am. So far, the parties on the Right are divided over two issues:

  1. Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope party refuses to join a government led by Netanyahu.
  2. Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism party refuses to join a government that includes Ra’am.

If they continue to cling to these dogged positions, it could lead to a left-wing government, something Rabbi Tau is greatly afraid of, so much so that he prefers religious Muslims over Jewish lefties.

See related: Orthodox Jews Prefer Arabs to Leftists

Rabbi Tau is first of all calling on Israeli Jews to pay attention to the terrible Mount Meron tragedy, in which 45 people died in a human avalanche. This event, he says, “should make us observe and think about the voice of God speaking to us through events, calling us to cleanse our hearts and remove from us the terrible infection of fanning up unjustified hate” that can be detrimental to Israel.

He also highlighted the hateful slandering of Netanyahu, who, among other things, greatly succeeded in “empowering Israel to stand against her enemies who are seeking our destruction … and bringing medical and economic healing from the Corona pandemic.” The personal hate and ingratitude toward Netanyahu, says Rabbi Tau, springs from “various factors that are trying to weaken Israel by means of deceitful propaganda [including the fabrication of] hateful legal documents against a prime minister.”

In all, concludes Tau, “the extreme progressive Left is ready to implement its dangerous ideas such as the cancelation of the Nation-State Law and declaring the state as a state of all its citizens [a non-Jewish state]. Such dangerous thoughts and plans,” he writes, “are disastrous, and in and of themselves constitute a terrible desecration of the Name, as well as hurting the great sanctification of the Name [which is participating] in the ingathering of the exiles for the great revival in the Land of Israel.”

At the same time, says Tau, “relying on non-Jews to form a government [also] constitutes a great desecration of the Name,” which leaves him with a choice between two evils, Ra’am or the Left. His conclusion is that Ra’am with its four seats is less dangerous to Israel than a left-wing government. His opinion, presented as a halachic decision for a right-wing government, is based on the Talmudic conclusion stating that “greater is the sanctification of the Name [by violating a commandment] than the desecration of the Name [for no good reason].” This principle allowing a Jew to violate one commandment for the sake of a greater one is what Tau uses to justify his position to include a Muslim party in a government headed by Netanyahu.

Whether or not one agrees with Tau, it is undeniable that his view well represents that of the majority of right-wingers, who believe the Left is more dangerous to Israel than a small Muslim party. If anything, Rabbi Tau’s letter shows that despite all the calls for unity, the rift between the Left and the Right is growing ever wider.

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