Orot Shaul Hesder Yeshiva Dean Rabbi Yuval Cherlow announced that he will participate in a rally this Saturday night against the Likud party and Prime Minister Netanyahu, over allegations of corruption.
The protests, which have taken place at Tel Aviv's Rothschild Street, have been dubbed the “March of Shame.” Among the signs carried by protesters were: “Out with the corrupt,” “Not leftist, not rightist, but honest,” “Being a pig isn’t kosher,” and “Bibi go home." A widely shared photo showed protestors holding signs promoting the BDS movement and other far-left causes.
Rabbi Cherlow announced his decision to speak at the rally in a Facebook post titled "Why I intend to attend the demonstration on Saturday night". While admitting that "I do not delude myself regarding the political interests behind this rally," Cherlow insisted that "the vast majority of people are capable of transcending tribalism and are willing to participate in a culture of debate despite having different political positions than me and my friends".
Cherlow went to explain that he seeks to change the culture of " the contempt, the division, the negation of legitimacy, the view of the "other" as a traitor."
Cherlow was harshly criticized on social media, where it was alleged that he was damaging the Religious Zionist community. "This is a political rally, and you're harming the entire right-wing," fumed one writer on Cherlow's Facebook page. Another wrote that "Rabbi Cherlow would never demonstrate for the residents of South Tel Aviv - these demonstrations aren't broadcast on every television channel. He would prefer to join the spoiled children on Rothschild Street."
David Rechtman, a former student of Cherlow's, defended the rabbi. "What's the big deal?" he wondered. "Rabbi Cherlow simply wants to unite the sectors of Israel, something which he has dedicated his life to."
Cherlow had been involved in a similar controversy when he agreed to headline the memorial rally for slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 2015.
"I didn't have any qualms about it," Cherlow stated to reporters at the event. "I was sure I needed to come here, it's very important to Israeli society as a whole."