Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, the president of a revived Sanhedrin, was the keynote speaker at a conference on 'Existential Dangers and the Ways to Combat' held near the Jerusalem Central Bus Station on Wednesday. The meeting was organized by a movement working to resurrect the Sanhedrin, the ancient governing body of the Jewish people.
Rabbi Israel Ariel, the head of the capital's Temple Institute and a leading member of the Sanhedrin, also addressed the conference. On Monday, he was arrested and questioned by police regarding alleged threats and incitement to violence against OC Central Command Maj-Gen Yair Naveh.
"The purpose of today's conference is to release ourselves from the stranglehold of our own erroneous preconceptions," said Prof. Hillel Weiss of Bar-Ilan University, spokesman for the Sanhedrin. "We are here to strengthen the spirit of the Jewish people and to show that we can take control of our destiny."
Steinsaltz, hinting at the recent spate of corruption allegations among politicians, police brass and senior civil servants, spoke of the devastating impact of social pressures on elected officials.
The rabbi, who published a major work on the Babylonian Talmud and who heads a networks of educational institutions, called for increased unity among Jews. He invited spiritual leaders to take a more active role in national issues.
"Today rabbis don't always express their opinions on issues that they know about, while politicians talk about things that they know nothing about," he said.
The conference was accompanied with an exposition featuring products made in Judea and Samaria. Health foods, cosmetics, Purim gift baskets and jewelry, books and other products were on display for a mixed crowd of settler youth, haredim, secular locals and whoever happened by. Later in the evening, leading religious singers such as Aaron Razel and Yehudah Glantz performed.