Ex-chief rabbi to protesters: You've captured my heart

Rabbi Yisrael Lau tells Student Union representatives that he's never seen so many Israelis come together; says he'll contact Netanyahu.

August 16, 2011 14:47
1 minute read.
Rabbi Yisrael Lau

Rabbi Yisrael Lau 311. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons (CC))


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Representatives from the National Union of Israeli Students and leaders of the tent city protest movement met Tuesday morning with former Israel chief rabbi and current head rabbi of Tel Aviv Yisrael Lau, where they held a discussion on the ongoing social justice protests.

During the meeting, held at the offices of the Tel Aviv Rabbinate, Lau told the protest leaders that the movement they launched was unprecedented in Israel and that “this is the first time I remember ever having seen this many people who didn’t know each other before, coming together – outside of a time of war. You have captured my heart.”

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Lau also vowed to contact Netanyahu personally, saying that he would tell him “to honor the mandate of the Trajtenberg committee and to accept its recommendations.

This is my contribution to the struggle. Your cries are understandable and justified.”

He added, however, that the protest movement would only succeed if “it remains apolitical, and doesn’t become violent.”

He also advised the protesters to be patient and have some faith in the government committee’s ability reach solutions.

Lau’s endorsement of the movement represents the most prominent support yet given by a haredi leader in Israel to a movement that has been predominantly secular and has tried to avoid political or religious divisions.


Lau’s nephew, Rabbi Benny Lau, has been a supporter of the movement since early on, and gave a speech at the mass protest on Kaplan Boulevard on August 6, where he issued a similar call to that made by his father on Tuesday, saying “we want to found a state based on social justice. We won’t let this struggle be about a single sector in society or another, we all want social justice.”

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