I met Rabbi Joseph Gutnick in our studio and was excited to finally sit down and have a "real talk" with this man with such an incredible story.
I expected secretaries and staff to come in with him and was pleasantly surprised to see him coming alone in a simple and subtle manner, with no airs about him - a straightforward man with a young face and a sweet smile.
He has so many stories to share, and there is so much history that he has lived within the Chabad world, in the economic world, and in the political arena within Israel, that I realized I could have sat for hours with him.
I tried to touch on the most essential subjects in our conversation to give you a taste of this man's incredible life and faith in Hashem and in the Rebbe.
Gutnick became close with Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu in his role as the Rebbe's Special Emissary for the Integrity of the Land of Israel. In the 1990s, Gutnick spent millions of dollars campaigning for Netanyahu and against the Labor Party in Israel's elections to prevent the Israeli government from giving up land, which the Rebbe said would never help achieve peace.
After almost having been ruined by the 1987 stock market crash, Gutnick was advised by Rabbi Menachem Schneersohn to go back to the Australian desert and search for "gold and diamonds."
Now Joseph Gutnick has set his sights on making a fortune in Tasmania. If his venture of establishing a mine in the state's northwest becomes a reality, he says he will financially support Tasmania's proposed AFL team.
Recently, the increasing price for some minerals and metals has encouraged Mr. Gutnick to take a closer look at the northwest site. "It's potentially worth billions, it's a major deposit," he said. If it goes ahead, 600 people will be employed in the construction of the mine and 300 will be required to operate it. He hopes to be processing in three years' time.
The recent pre-election campaign, “Choose Life,” which Rabbi Gutnick funded in both Hebrew and English, called on Israelis to vote for parties that oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state and won’t give away territories of the holy land of Israel. It definitely proved to be worth it and he sounds very satisfied with these election results and the creation of this new right-wing government; he even took up temporary residence in Jerusalem.
As we finished our interview I wished him continued success and he answered smiling again his sweet but at the same time strong smile. Now I understand why this man gets what he wants. Hard work, faith, and a strong belief that Moshiach (the Messiah) can come any day and we need to prepare the world - spiritually and physically.