Chabad emissaries visit Hebron

Say point of visit is to raise evacuees' morale not to tussle with police.

hebron mom, baby 298.88 (photo credit: )
hebron mom, baby 298.88
(photo credit: )
In a show of support for Hebron's nine families slated for evacuation, about half of Chabad's 220 official Israeli emissaries visited the city of the Patriarchs Sunday. Israeli security forces have brought close to 7,000 police and soldiers to the city in preparation for the evacuation of the Hebron market place planned for Tuesday. "Nobody is trying to break the IDF or the police," said Rabbi Menachem Brod, official Chabad spokesman in Israel. "But we are hopeful the government will rescind its decision." Rabbi Dani Cohen, Chabad emissary in Hebron, said the purpose of the visit by the emissaries, who head Chabad Houses across the nation, was to lift Hebron settlers' morale. "The emissaries are here to identify with the settlers, not to grapple with police and soldiers," said Cohen. "These guys are used to spiritual struggles, not physical ones." Before the disengagement from Gaza, Chabad's official institutions were uncharacteristically passive in their opposition. The Hassidic sect, known for its incredible organizational skills, refrained from mobilizing en masse against the pullout. Commenting on Hebron, Brod repeated what he said before disengagement, "Chabad's role is to bring Jews closer to Judaism and to offer spiritual support and guidance, not to fight with police and soldiers." From its inception at the end of the 17th century Chabad-Lubavitch had a strong connection with the small Jewish community in Hebron, said Rabbi Yossi Nachshon, a Chabad rabbi from nearby Kiryat Arba. Chabad's founder, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Ladi, known as the Alter Rebbe, helped raise funds to support Hebron's Jews. Zalman, the author of the Tanya, Chabad's most central text, also purchased land in Hebron, including plots near the Avraham Avinu neighborhood and the site where Yeshivat Shavei Chevron is located. Zalman's granddaughter, Menucha Rachel Slonim, is buried there. "We hope world pressure will prevent the Israeli government from going through with the evacuation of the innocent," said Nachshon. "Chabad will try to use its influence both in Israel and abroad to fight the decision." Chabad's last rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, spoke out strongly against any and all land compromises. He said that even talking about ceding land to Palestinians endangered Jewish lives.