Photo courtesy Ynet
I have heard that a $100 dollar gift will be given to anyone who pledges not to vote. According to the article, the money is designed for communities and people that normally do vote and receive government support. They are trying to increase their reach in an attempt to undermine the government.
First I am a little perplexed. I thought there were only 2 Satmar Rebbes, R’ Aharon in Kiryas Joel and R’ Zalmen in Williamsburg. Apparently there is a 3rd. Not sure what his domain encompasses. But I digress.
I know they despise the government of Israel. I know that they do not want any of their members or sympathizers to have anything to do with it. Voting in an election is certainly something they would oppose. What I didn’t know is that there is enough of a concern that Satmar people will vote so that one of their Rebbes is willing to spend money in order to prevent it. He is even willing to risk being arrested in doing so.
What an incredible waste of money. With all of the poverty going on in Satmar and similar Chasidic enclaves, one would think that $25,000 could be better spent. Instead they are willing to burn money on something that will have no impact at all on the elections. I realize that they have plenty of Chesed organization that deal with the poor. But still spending $25,000 on something like this is still an incredible waste of their money.
The irony is that if their Chasidim would vote in large numbers, it would probably be for Charedi political parties. That would give them more power. They could better control the things they vehemently protest like Shabbos desecration in their neighborhoods. Wouldn’t more political influence better serve this purpose than rock throwing? What they are doing instead is lessening their power and relying on rock throwing and various and eclectic other forms of Chilul HaShem to get their way.
One might admire the fact that they will not compromise on their principles and are willing to sacrifice financially for them… and that one of their Rebbes is even willing to risk jail time if necessary. Perhaps. But how desperate must they be, to be willing bribe people into not voting?
I hope that the Rebbe is not arrested. That will certainly make a martyr out of him which could spill over into violent protest. Let him waste his money there.
According to the Ynet article, a Satmar spokesman by the name of Rabbi Yitzhak Weiss has said that ‘senators’ will accompany the Rebbe on this trip to prevent his detention and possible arrest. I don’t believe it. But if true, I’d like to know who they are and disabuse them of this idea. If they want to get re-elected, this little excursion will not serve them well. I can’t think of anything stupider than elected officials of the US accompanying an American citizen to a foreign country (who may break the law there) in order to run interference for him.