A triple day-long event - featuring the Sanhedrin Conference, a front-lines business fair, and a concert by Aharon Raz'el and Yehuda Glanz - is underway in Jerusalem, sponsored by a new grassroots movement.
The event, with the participation of hundreds of people, is being held today(Wednesday) at the Jerusalem Gate Hotel adjacent to the Central Bus Station.
The Sanhedrin Conference includes rabbis, academics and politicians such as Rabbi Moshe Tzuriel, Moshe Feiglin, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, Prof. Hillel Weiss, and Rabbi Yisrael Ariel. It is dedicated to Erez Levanon, who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists while praying in a forest near his home in Gush Etzion this week.
Among the lectures are:
“Calling for Peace - A Prerequisite for Victory” by Rabbi Menachem Fruman
"The Danger of Lack of Education & the Remedy of Jewish Identity" by Sanhedrin chairman Rabbi Yoel Schwartz
“The Writings of Shabtai Ben Dov – A Torani-Political-Existential Program” by Yehuda Etzion, and
“The Israeli Economy – Perils and Hopes” by Prof. Aharon Tziner.
One of the speakers, Temple Institute head Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, was detained by police yesterday and questioned for several hours on suspicion of having called IDF Maj.-Gen. Ya'ir Naveh a rodef. A rodef is one who directly endangers Jewish life and is thus eligible for death. Rabbi Ariel explained to Arutz-7 several weeks ago that he had written a private letter to Naveh to this effect, but that he did not publicize it. Naveh, an observant Jew, has been censured for having signed administrative orders distancing over 20 young Jews from their homes in Yesha, taken active part in the Disengagement and the Amona destruction, and even for having signed orders giving lands in southern
The Yesha Rabbis Council sharply condemned the arrest, terming it "religious persecution, shutting of mouths, and a witch-hunt reminiscent of dark periods in our history when rabbis were persecuted for their Torah rulings that did not please the rulers."
The Sanhedrin is an organization that says it has re-established the Land of Israel Sanhedrin of the Mishnaic period nearly 2,000 years ago. The Sanhedrin was a council of 71 sages who constituted the supreme court and legislative body in Judea during the Roman period. It continued to function for more than 400 years after the destruction of the Temple in 68 C.E. The current attempt to re-establish the Sanhedrin is generally referred to as the "nascent Sanhedrin", or the "developing Sanhedrin", according to the Sanhedrin's website.
At the same time, in another part of the Jerusalem Gate Hotel, a business expo entitled “Business at the Forefront: Supporting Business on the Frontlines” is being held today. The fair provides a unique opportunity for over 60 businesses owned by Israel's front-liners - residents of Sderot, Yesha, and the north, as well as expellees from Gush Katif - to sell their products and make business connections. The expo runs from 10 AM to 10 PM.
The event will end this evening with a musical concert featuring Aharon Raz'el, Yehuda Glanz and Harpo. They will perform, inter alia, compositions written by the late Erez Levanon.
The event is being coordinated by Tzibur Bnei Yisrael (The Community of the Children of Israel), a new grassroots movement dedicated to “Jewish unity and to realizing the collective dreams of the Jewish people."
A conference participant, Meir Lapid of Kiryat Arba, told Arutz-7, "This is a very important initiative - the start of the filling of the vacuum of the past 2,000 years, in the sense that rabbinical leaders in the Diaspora always led their communities, while now we are seeking national religious leadership that must deal with our national challenges. The Sanhedrin is a type of open organization that unites outlooks and tries to turn them into an answer for the challenges of today - not like the superficial approach that we see reflected in the media."
Another participant, Avi Lowell of Tekoa, told Arutz-7 that he was excited to see "Jews of all backgrounds, from outwardly not religious to hareidi, coming together to discuss critical issues, and in the Expo, purchasing goods of all types from different areas of the country - including organic wine, Purim food baskets, books, jewelry, paintings, artwork, and much more."