Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, head of the famed Ponevitch Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, told his students last week that the standard of living for Jews in Israel is miraculous, the Jewish people should thank God for the present circumstances and the proof of his words was the numbers of refugees seeking shelter in the country.

“Refugees and non-Jews are coming here from distant lands to work, they need us and we are richer through them,” he said in his weekly Torah lesson, printed in the Shabbat booklet Darchei Hizuk.

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Edelstein, one of the most respected rabbis in the non-hassidic haredi world, called on his students to open their eyes to the blessings present in the country.

“If someone these days really wants to see miracles similar to that which were witnessed during the Exodus from Egypt, he should look with an honest eye at our standing among the nations, and he will see that our circumstances are similar to theirs – and in some cases better,” the rabbi said.

In January this year, amidst tensions surrounding extremist haredi activity in Beit Shemesh, Edelstein said in his weekly lesson: “Correct, they [the secular community] incite against us and they have reasons for doing so. But we need to know that we deserve it and [that we need] to improve our ways.”