A Love For Israel

Friday, 22 July, 2011 - 2:05 pm


In 1978 my uncle, Rabbi Yosef Rivkin, was sent by the Rebbe to Israel along with a group of colleagues. Some were married; others were single. Their assignment? To settle in Israel and study and eventually to find work that would enhance Judaism. He married an Israeli woman and after several years they settled in Karmiel in the north where they run the Chabad institutions. My uncle and his friends were the third such group to be dispatched to Israel in the 70s. They were preceded by many others and subsequently hundreds of Chabad couples serve in various religious functions throughout the land.

This past week, a special Knesset session was held to honor the work of Chabad. In the days leading up to the session, an individual, whom I will not name, tried in the most insidious way, to undermine the session to honor Chabad. He distributed a pamphlet to the members of Knesset trying to prove that Chabad was anti-Zionist and therefore unworthy of being honored in the Knesset. Apparently he did not the lesson as a child that if you want to be elevated you do so not by pushing others down but by lifting yourself up.

Without getting into the nuances and the subtleties of the various ideologies – ranging from Secular Zionism to Religious Zionism to Charedi Objections to Zionist Ideology pre-1948 to current day Neturei Karta objectors, one thing is clear: Chabad is a very active part of Israeli society today. An IDF soldier knows that no matter where he or she is stationed Chabad will be there for them on Chanukah, Purim or for any Jewish need. An Israeli tourist to the far-east knows that Chabad is there for Shabbat, a Seder or just a place to speak Hebrew and feel at home. There is hardly a city or even village in Israel that does not have a Chabad presence. Recent footage of interviews with high ranking Israelis government and military officials reveals that every single Prime Minster and most IDF commanders had extensive correspondence and conversation with the Rebbe. The members of the Israeli govt. recognize Chabad’s invaluable contributions to Israel and its people.

Not a single Knesset member paid the slightest attention to this troublemaker’s attempt to change their view. The truth speaks for itself. Chabad, inspired by the Rebbe’s example is motivated by a love for Israel and the Jewish people. A complete nation – uncompromised by attempts to dilute its integrity. Living in a complete land – uncompromised by attempts to dilute its integrity. Inspired by a complete Torah – uncompromised by attempts to dilute its integrity.

My uncle and his colleagues do not need the recognition that was given to them, but it was appropriate that their important work was honored.

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