A leading religious Zionist rabbi, Rav Shlomo Aviner, has come out against the social protests that have dominated the news over the summer.
An individual must give tzedakah – or alms to the poor – and society must enforce this, the rabbi explains. While a person must take care of his own life before that of another man's, a man's luxuries do not come before the life of another. For instance, Halacha says that a person may not bathe in water or water his garden if his friend has nothing to drink.
The middle class says it is going under and it demands that the government give it a bigger piece of the pie, at the expense of other needs, like security, Rav Aviner points out. "Therefore this is not a struggle for the truly poor."
The solution is capitalism with a welfare mechanism, the rabbi opines. The state is the biggest philanthropist around and the Welfare Ministry is the country's tzedakah box. But there is a limit to how much the state can tax its citizens.
Most of the Israeli people did not attend the rallies in any case, the rabbi added. The numbers reported by the press were 3, 4 or 5 times the real numbers. "Only a part of the nation is there, and its struggle is a legitimate one, but it is not a struggle of Torah and justice, rather one of money – it is individualistic, not idealistic."