'Don't vote for parties that won't pass electoral threshold'

Chabad rabbinical court publishes letter urging hasidim to vote - and to vote only for parties which are sure to enter Knesset.

Chana Roberts ,

Voting booth (illustrative)
Voting booth (illustrative)
Esti Dazyobov, TPS

Chabad's rabbinical court on Thursday published a letter urging Chabad hasidim to vote in Israel's upcoming elections, and to vote only for a party which is clearly expected to cross the electoral threshold and enter the Knesset.

The letter, shared widely on Facebook, comes in response to a similar letter issued last month and signed mainly by rabbis teaching in yeshivas. That letter, seen by many as not binding due to the fact that the majority of signatories do not rule on matters of Jewish law, urged Chabad hasidim to vote and stating that those who vote for parties not expected to cross the electoral threshold are in violation of the commandment "do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor" (Leviticus 19:16).

In Thursday's letter, the community rabbis wrote: "It is known that Chabad is not political or affiliated with any party. Our business is to spread Torah and to prepare the world to greet Moshiach (the messiah - ed)."

"Therefore, no one has permission to intervene and express an opinion in the name of Chabad, and all those who have made statements regarding the elections are not representing Chabad's stance, but their own opinions.

"However, it is well known that the Rebbe told his followers to participate in the elections, and to vote for the 'most haredi party,' which will ensure the preservation of the Torah, the Land of Israel, and the Nation of Israel.

"According to the Rebbe's stance, voting for a party which may not pass the electoral threshold means supporting those parties which oppose G-d and His Torah, and is considered as if the person voted for those parties. Therefore, one should not vote for a party if there is a doubt that it will pass the electoral threshold.

"We would like to emphasize that these are the general instructions from the Chabad Rabbinical Court, and apply to all Chabad hasidim in the Holy Land. Any private expression of opinion from one of the undersigned does not represent the official stance of the Chabad movement."

The letter is signed by Rabbi Yitzchak Yehuda Yuroslavsky, rabbi of Kiryat Malachi's Nachalat Har Chabad neighborhood; Rabbi Avraham MIchael Halperin, who serves as rabbi of French Hill and previously served as Chief Rabbi of Atlit; Kiryat Gat Chief Rabbi Moshe Havlin; Eilat Chief Rabbi Yosef Hecht; Holon Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Yochanan Gourary; and Rabbi Menachem Mendel Gluchovsky, who serves as rabbi for Rehovot's Denia neighborhood and the city's Chabad community.