Arutz Sheva spoke with some of the attendees at the conference of religious Zionist rabbis in Jerusalem.
Approximately a thousand religious Zionist rabbis, including old and young rabbis, community leaders, educators and rabbis in uniform, met on Thursday at the Ramada Renaissance Hotel in Jerusalem for a first of its kind Jerusalem Day conference.
Speakers included chief rabbis of cities and heads of yeshivas and Torah institutes, such as Rav Sheer Yashuv Cohen of Haifa, Rav Yaakov Ariel of Ramat Gan, Rav Nachum Rabinowitz of Maaleh Adumim, Rav Zalman Baruch Melamed of Beit El, Rav Chaim Drukman of Ohr Etzion representing hesder yeshivas, Rav Yaakov Shapiro of Merkaz Harav, Rav Shmuel Eliyahu of Tsfat, Rav Yisrael Rosen of the Tsomet Halakhic Institute. Rabbi Aharon LIchtenstein of Har Etzion spoke by video.
The rabbinical conference, which was held in honor of Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Reunification) Day, reunited 45 years ago in the Six Day War, dealt with the unity of Jerusalem and with unity in general.
“It was an unbelievable conference. If I hadn’t seen it I wouldn’t have believed it,” said Nissan Slomianski, a former MK for the National Religious Party.
Slomianski described how powerful it was to see so many rabbis, who have different opinions on different issues, gather and sit down together.
“It tells us that unity can certainly be reached and that it’s not only possible to reach unity, we must reach unity,” he said, adding, “I hope that this wonderful unity will also have an influence on the leaders and the politicians. I hope that there will be unity between us and our brothers in the National Union and that we run on one list to the Knesset in order to make the Torah great.”
Conference Co-organizer Rabbi Menachem Burstein, head of the Puah Institute, said that the conference marked “an historical day in which the people of Israel united and the flag bearers of religious Zionism who lead Israel in Torah, in the people and in the land united into one. At first we thought it was a dream. Today we saw that it’s a reality. It’s the great power of Jerusalem which turns all the people of Israel into friends.”
Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, head of Merkaz HaRav Yshiva and son of Chief Rabbi Avraham Shapira zts"l, said how the iconic leader of the religious Zionist movement and head of Merkaz Harav , Chief Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook zts"l (1865-1935), would have rejoiced to see this unity.
Rabbi Avi Gisser, Rabbi of the community of Ofra, said that the conference symbolized the mission of religious Zionism, which is “to have a Jewish State headed by the Torah and to be unique. To swear to Jerusalem that just as we are committed to Jerusalem, we are also committed to having a unique message that allows us to throw out all the differences.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)