Former Likud minister Silvan Shalom has divulged hitherto unknown details of a secret meeting that took place between Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky ztz"l and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, thirteen years ago.
"Yesterday I paid a condolence call to the famliy of Rabbi Kanievsky," Shalom wrote on his Facebook page. "I was already familiar with the famous residence at 23 Rashbam Street which I visited several times when I was Finance Minister and later as Foreign Minister.
"I was in the habit of making regular visits to Rabbi Kanievsky in order to receive his blessing and advice and discuss various issues with him," Shalom related. "Before the elections of 2009, I accompanied Benjamin Netanyahu, who was then running for the premiership, to Rabbi Kanievsky's home, to ask him about the possibility of the United Torah Judaism party joining a Likud-led government."
According to Shalom, relations between the two parties were then at a low ebb. "Likud and UTJ were at loggerheads back then," he wrote, "in part due to the financial decrees imposed by the Sharon government. But due to the close relationship between myself and the Rabbi's son and grandson, I succeeded in arranging a secret nighttime meeting at the Rabbi's home, and the result of that meeting was that UTJ joined the Netanyahu government that was formed after the elections. That was the beginning of a close relationship between the two parties that spanned long years."
Shalom concluded, "The wisdom, modesty, and unique manner of Rabbi Kanievsky will be sorely missed by the Jewish People, his family, and his many students - among them myself."