Rabbi Cherlow at Left demonstration
Rabbi Cherlow at Left demonstrationOded Livnat

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, who heads the ethics department in the Tzohar rabbinic organization,took part in the weekly left-wing demonstration on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv on Saturday night. He spoke Monday to Arutz Sheva about the reactions to his protest, the messages he is interested in conveying to the participants on the one hand, and to those who shaprly criticized his participation on the other.

"I was not surprised by the reactions, and I wrote in advance what the reactions would be," says Rabbi Cherlow, but says he was surprised by two things: "One - by the intensity of the hatred; I'm not talking about me, but hatred between the two camps. Lack of trust in something someone else does; everything is interpreted as manipulation."

"The second thing - the fact that the social networks have changed the rules a bit, on the one hand, for the better because everyone participates in the discussion, but on the other hand the level of discussion and the level of the attacks and the slander is in such a way that it defies the public debate and therefore I fear it will no longer have meaning.Write the most cynical, abusive, and venomous thing regardless of whether it is true or false, and this is dangerous for those who think there should be a public debate."

At the demonstration, did you feel like a representative of another party or someone joining the left's wave of protest?

"I definitely did not join. They didn't think for a moment that I was joining them. I decided to say what I believe everywhere, wherever I am."

Rabbi Cherlow spoke on the background of the deep disagreement within the right wing between those who defend the Prime Minister in face of investigations and media coverage and the smaller group calling for a war on corruption even if it is against the person who now heads the right-wing ruling party. The fact that the investigations are in progress causes most right wing publicists to pan the demonstrations, asserting that they are a witch hunt clearrly aimed at bringing down the Prime Minister without elections as no corruption has been proven.

Rabbi Cherlow explains that it is important that the fight against corruption be part of the Right's discourse, "that we too understand that the cause of fighting corruption is a categorical imperative as believers in the sanctity of the Land and that only through moral behavior will we inherit the entire land."In addition, says Rabbi Cherlow, there is a practical side."The Right will fall if the question of corruption will not be one of the issues it's involved in," he believes.

Rabbi Cherlow explains that there is also a principle of unity and dialogue guiding him. "There is partial success in that there is still the possibility of talking to people from the other side and cooperating in real things beyond the chasm between us on other subjects."

When asked whether participation in the demonstration is tantamount to agreement that Prime Minister Netanyahu is corrupt, Rabbi Cherlow says that his action was mainly aimed at the recent wave of legislation."There is a problem with this government in the field of legislation, and something bad is happeninng regarding the checks and balances that the Torah also commands."Rabbi Cherlow mentions the laws of the king and the concept the a king is warned "not to acquire many horses" should be relevant to the leaders of our generation.

Rabbi Cherlow notes that in his remarks to the demonstrators he made it clear that the fight against corruption must not be a tool for another political struggle."Anyone who wants to fight corruption can't be manipulative and can't do a lynch in the streets of a city. The call 'Bibi to jail' was heard at the demonstration. That's a public lynching, an example of unacceptable speech, especilly if you want to fight corruption."

A BDS placard could be seen at the demonstration and a picture circulated with BDS letters that had been waved at a previous demonstration. Rabbi Cherlow responded to criticism of his remaining at the event despite the signs, saying:: "How we scream when there's a large demonstration of the Right and the media chooses to interview an extremist and says 'see how the Right talks'.Don't treat others the way you don't want to be treated.Those who call it a BDS demonstration aren't reading the map correctly, the absolute majority of the demonstrators are Zionist, moral, and BDS-hating people like us."

One of the rabbis who criticized the appearance on Saturday night on Facebook, wrote that Rabbi Cherlow had forbidden his students to participate in the right-wing demonstrations against the destruction of Amona, telling them that some of those seen at the protests were extremists.

"הימין יפול אם לא ילחם בשחיתות"