Top ultra-Orthodox rabbi: no concessions to Palestinian demands

Kanievsky, who is renowned for his terse speech so as not to waste time, said in response that “Tell them [the US] that the Arabs should make concessions.”

September 12, 2019 09:19
1 minute read.
Ultra-Orthodox rabbi Chaim Kanievsky

Ultra-Orthodox rabbi Chaim Kanievsky. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The most senior ultra-Orthodox rabbi in the Ashkenazi, non-hassidic world, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, said on Tuesday that United Torah Judaism would not make any concessions to the Palestinians on their territorial demands in the West Bank.

The rabbi’s comments came just hours before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s dramatic declaration that the Trump peace plan would allow Israel to annex the Jordan Valley and Israeli settlements in the West Bank after the election.

Kanievsky made his comments during an audience he held with UTJ MK Yitzhak Pindrus on Tuesday morning at the rabbi’s home in Bnei Brak.

Pindrus asked the rabbi “in the name of many residents beyond the Green Line” if UTJ would support concessions if the US pressured Israel for “concessions on the territories.”

Kanievsky, who is renowned for his terse speech so as not to waste time, said in response: “Tell [the US] that the Arabs should make concessions.”

When Pindrus followed up by asking whether voters should be “concerned that UTJ will agree to concessions,” the rabbi said strongly “No.”

UTJ recently signed an agreement with senior religious-Zionist rabbi Rabbi David Hai Hacohen and other representatives of the hard-line wing of the religious-Zionist community that the ultra-Orthodox party would not support any withdrawals from the West Bank.

In return, Hacohen and other hard-line religious-Zionist rabbis agreed to endorse UTJ, and say that there are as many as 40,000 votes from the religious-Zionist community – worth one Knesset seat – that may now vote for UTJ as a result.

The agreement was a historic statement by UTJ, which has previously declined to take a position on issues relating to territorial concerns in the West Bank.

Kanievsky’s comments are equally rare and suggest that UTJ is making a serious effort to appeal to the hard-line religious conservatives in the religious-Zionist community, who are disillusioned with the traditional religious-Zionist parties that have represented the sector.

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