Miracle Terrorist Attack Survivor Heads New Hasidic Party
A new political party called Na Nach - Kulanu Chaverim (We are All Friends) is running in the upcoming Knesset elections. The party promotes the power of prayer and the study of the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov.
The head of the party, Sharon Knafo, survived a terrorist attack in Jerusalem in 2001. Hamas terrorists detonated explosives in Jerusalem's busy Ben Yehuda Street. The bombs were packed with rusty nails dipped in rat poison in order to inflict as much injuries and deaths as possible. Thirteen people were killed and 188 were injured.
Knafo, then 24 years old, was hit by approximately 100 nails. One of the nails narrowly missed hitting his heart. The nail was stopped by a coin in Knafo's wallet which he kept in his front shirt pocket.
The number 2 on the party list is Lior Shai Tzafrir, was affected by terrorism as well. His parents were murdered in a terrorist attack when he was 3-years-old.
Moshe Yanai, number 4 on the party list has been serving as the group's English spokesperson. He spoke to Arutz Sheva about their ideology.
"Usually we spend time spreading the wisdom of Rabbi Nachman," Yanai stated, referring to the hasidic teacher who was a grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, founder of the hasidic movement.
Although he passed in 1810, thousands visit his grave site in Uman, Ukraine every year. Yanai and his colleagues are particularly influenced by Rabbi Yisroel Dov Ber Odesser, an Israeli born rabbi who dedicated his life to spreading Rabbi Nachman's teachings. Rabbi Odesser, who passed away in 1994, was known to his students as "Sabba" or grandfather, was inspired by a note signed "Na Nach Naman Me'Uman."
The group is known for playing music in the streets and dancing, as they sell books and CDs on hasidic philosophy. They also visit hospitals, army bases and other places to spread their unique brand of joy and Judaism. On their official registration as a political party they listed their platform as "faith, trust in G-D, happiness, and peace and unity in accordance to the path of Sabba Yisroel."
"We have mostly been engaged in volunteering and do not personally benefit from our activities," Yanai stated, "But now we want to take it one step ahead," he said. "Rabbi Nachman has the answer to the world's problems, to bring emuna, and belief."
Yanai lives in Elad, a city along the costal region of Israel. After high school, he served in the Israel Defense Forces. Regarding the annulment of the Tal Law, which offered draft deferments to full time yeshiva students, Yanai expressed his opinion.
"The draft should be done with a smile," he commented. "I think yeshiva bochers would like to serve, but in a way that they can continue to to live religiously. He can have gemara and Torah study half a day and another half a day train. No soldier can train 24 hours a day anyway. I think the yeshiva boys are very strong people. But do the politicians really want thousands of yeshiva bochers with guns?" He also opined that perhaps army service could be shortened to less than the mandatory two and a half to three years for males.
"When you're young and study Torah, you have a lot of drive. If we had them in the army, then our army would be invincible," He stated. Yanai added, "the current religious soldiers, the kippah srugah community, they enlist the most," he stated, referring to the "knitted kippah" religious Zionist public.
In line with the party's philosophy, prayer and belief are Yanai's main talking points. "You think physical strength comes from vitamins? They [the soldiers] believe in Eretz Yisrael. They know who and what they're fighting for. It's written in the Torah that this is our land. But when a person is taken farther and farther from his ancestors, then he becomes frightened," Yanai said.
Yanai related some stories of when he and his colleagues came to sing, dance and teach Torah on IDF bases.
"Every time there is war, we volunteer and we find some soldiers that are not so brave. They don't know what to expect. Whoever is driving them, is surrounded by politics. But when you offer them encouraging words, it institutes a new spirit. It feels different then trying to go into battle after having just been to a discothèque or watching TV. Throughout our history we have been few against many."
As far as the Disengagement and a Two-State Solution is concerned, Yanai says the party is also Torah oriented. "Our stand is a Jewish stand," he said. "We believe that Eretz Yisrael was given to the Jewish people. We stick to that. But we believe that there are some Arabs who just want to live quietly in peace, and we hope the rest of the world will live in peace along with us." Other party members have expressed similar thoughts. Knafo said in an interview with the Cneset19 website that they would not tolerant rocket attacks or those that no not recognize their right to exist, but they also wanted to express a vision of peace and unity with others.
Yanai elaborated, "we want the world to start to proceed toward the Geula, redemption, a new age, a more real way of living and thinking. I believe that every political party has a true and good purpose behind them that initially brought them to run for Knesset elections. But we need to focus on true point, not political manipulation."
Yanai said he was pleased with the positive reaction from the Israeli media. "We are a small party, We are not attacking anyone. We are not taking votes away from anyone else. We are just simple people who think the world should be a better place. In regards to the economy, Yanai said, "there too much of a drive for money. We believe altruism is stronger then the rush for materialism." However he remained positive stating, "there are numerous good-will organizations. More and more people are interested in the environment and green energy. Groups want to fix the world, and this is all part of the redemption. You don't need a lot of money to live well. We believe in the power of prayer. Rabbi Nachman says that the main weapon of Moshiach is prayer."
Elections are scheduled for January 22nd.
The views and opinions expressed are not nessesarily those of Arutz Sheva or its staff. Arutz Sheva does not endorse any particular political party.
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