(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Shas chairman and Interior Minister Arye Deri said Thursday that Donald Trump’s election could herald the coming of the Messiah due to the blow he expects the next president will strike against the “non-Orthodox Jewish hold on the US government.”
“There is no doubt that one can give thanks to God that all those who have damned the [Jewish] covenant and would wipe out Judaism, thinking they could take control over the Land of Israel here and lead reforms in order to cause destruction received their blow,” Deri said during an address to the local religious council of Ashdod.
“Their influence and the great threat they posed to us because they held [control over] the US government...
They understand that this power has disappeared and we can continue, God willing, to strengthen traditional religion and Judaism, transmitted down to us from generation to generation.”
Trump’s election, he added, presages the coming of the Messianic Age.
“If such a miracle can happen, we have already reached the days of the Messiah. Therefore, we are really in the era of the birth pangs of the Messiah when everything has been flipped to the good of the Jewish people.”
Senior United Torah Judaism leader MK Moshe Gafni was of similar mind, predicting that Reform and Conservative influence in Israel would now wane.
According to a report on the Kikar Hashabbat haredi-news website, Gafni told close associates this was his “hope” and expectation.
“Naturally, Reform [Jews] mostly identified with the Democratic government and now their influence will weaken,” Gafni was quoted as saying.
“The Right has risen, along with more conservative stances,” continued the MK, saying he believes the non-Orthodox Jewish leadership had worked against Trump during the campaign.
Yizhar Hess, director of the Masorti (Conservative) Movement in Israel called Deri “ignorant” and said he was seeking to deceive his electorate and the Israeli public.
“Someone who tries to make a connection between the election of President-elect Trump and the supposed weakening power or status of American Jews in their country doesn’t understand anything about the deep dialogue between Israel and America – a dialogue for which the figure of the serving president is almost irrelevant,” said Hess.
“His words are anti-Jewish, anti-Zionist, and border on actual antisemitism.”