Leading haredi rabbi says against anti-draft protests in leaked audio

The Jerusalem Faction announced on Wednesday night that it will be staging its first demonstration since Shmuel Auerbach’s death in February.

March 8, 2018 12:40
1 minute read.

Haredi protests in Jerusalem (Credit: Seth J. Frantzman)

Haredi protests in Jerusalem (Credit: Seth J. Frantzman)


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Rabbi Azriel Auerbach, one of the newly minted members of the Jerusalem Faction’s Council of Sages of the Torah World and brother of its late leader Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, has said that he is against anti-enlistment demonstrations.

The Jerusalem Faction announced on Wednesday night that it will be staging its first demonstration since Shmuel Auerbach’s death last month, following the arrest of a yeshiva student associated with the group for failing to cooperate with the IDF to obtain his military service exemption.  

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But in a recording obtained by the Haredi Line news service, Azriel Auerbach said he has always been against the frequent demonstrations staged by the Jerusalem Faction and that he does not believe yeshiva students should fight with the police.

The recording is particularly embarrassing for the Jerusalem Faction since Azriel Auerbach is Shmuel Auerbach’s brother but was recently named as one of the four leading rabbis of the group’s new Council of Sages of the Torah World, the rabbinic body that has supposedly taken up the mantle of leadership from Shmuel Auerbach.

“I, from the beginning, was against all these demonstrations,” said Azriel Auerbach genially.

“I don’t think that its good for the yeshiva students, for sure I was not of the same opinion as Reb Shmuel for whom the fire burned inside of him,” he continued with a chuckle.

“From the beginning of the journey I was not in favor, I told them that I do agree to do [demonstrations] in front of the prisons and study, [The protesters have a good point], but in the streets?” the rabbi questioned.

“The clashes begin, we don’t need yeshiva students fighting with the police,” he concluded in a disapproving tone of voice.

Azriel Auerbach was known to be more moderate than his brother even before this recording came out. The recording is not only a source of acute embarrassment for the Jerusalem Faction, but also indication that the movement is less unified than it appeared when Shmuel Auerbach was still alive. 

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