מוסד נטרונא, Anti-Zionist organization, Gatekeepers of the Satmar Rebbe’s Legacy.

Rabbi Avraham Yishaya Karelitz, author of Chazon Ish (1878-1953)

The Chazon Ish said: Who keeps mitzvohs in our time and is still considered a non believer? Anyone who claims that it is the fault of the rabbis that 6 million Jews were murdered in Europe, and anyone who celebrates Independence Day (Reb Aharon Roter)

The Zionist Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, Rabbi Unterman, showed the Chazon Ish a proposal to allow marriages on the 5th of lyar (Zionist Independence Day) and because he was afraid to explain the true reason, he claimed that on that day the soldiers are on vacation and can get married. The Chazon Ish said to him: “If this is so, then I am inclined to allow marriages from Rosh Chodesh lyar until Lag B’Omer.” The Rabbi of Tel Aviv argued that this is very lenient. The Chazon Ish then asked: “How is it that I am lenient and you are strict?” Rabbi Unterman was finally forced to admit that he wished to bypass the laws of mourning of Sefira on Independence Day. The Chazon Ish replied forcefully: “Perhaps it is more fitting to declare it a fast day!” (Reb Moshe Shonfeld)

In 5701, the Chazon Ish instructed to announce on the 5th of lyar in his Bais Medrah that Tachanun would not be said because he was being honored with being Sandek (so no one would think he was celebrating Independence Day). In the last year of his life on the 5th of lyar, even though the Chazon Ish as honored with being Sandek three times, he still commanded that Tachanun be said in his Bais Medrash, explaining that he is doing this so no one will be able to testify in the future that Tachanun was not said in his Bais Medrash on the 5th of lyar and hide the reason of the Bris Milah. (Reb Chaim Shaul Karelitz)

The Rosh Yeshiva of Chadera once spoke to the Chazon Ish about a certain problem which he thought would cause him persecution and asked, “What can we do, now they have kings and officers (the upper hand)?” The Chazon Ish answered him: “Don’t even use this expression again. The only difference is that before this, the secularists fought us with pens and now they do so with rifles.” (Reb Yaakov Galinsky)

The only actual difference with the formation of the Zionists State is, that before this they were hoodlums without arms, and now the hoodlums have arms. (Reb A. Y. Weintraub)

He would say: “Moshiach will not take over from them, something will happen in the interim.” (ibid)

He once said: “One clear day they will open the windows and they will see no more State.”(ibid)

He didn’t get a State Identification Card. And when the regime made a census, he refused to register, saying “I am from the people of Yerusholoyim” (meaning the observant people of Yerusholoyim who refused to be counted). (Reb Y. A. Weintraub)

At the beginning of the State, the municipality of Bnei Brak wanted to hang a Zionist flag on his house and he refused and when he was told he would have to pay a fine because of his refusal, he answered, “It’s worth it, it’s worth it.” (Ibid)

He once reacted with anger regarding those religious members of the Zionist Parliament who sit there and take part in its proceedings, “Why do they sit there? If they would ask me, I would tell them to stay at home.” (Reb. Y. Weintraub)

Reb Tzvi Dov Abraham, rav of Kedushas Levi in Monsey, related that he was once sitting with the Chazon Ish in his room when a man came in, his mouth full of praise and amazement at the Zionist State. We see with our eyes that it is the beginning of the redemption, he said, and spoke at length. The Chazon Ish said, “Bring me a Gemora Kesubos.” They brought a Gemora Kesubos and he showed on page 111a the Three Oaths and their punishment. Then, holding his finger on the place, he said to the man, “Es shteit az men vet azoy ton vet azoy kumen, men hot azoy geton un es iz azoy gekumen, un ir zogt az es iz aschalta degeulah!” (It says that if we do this, this will happen. They did it, and it happened. And you say it’s the beginning of the redemption!) (Mishkenos Haro’im, p. 1195)

Reb Dovid Shmidel related that someone once asked the Chazon Ish, “How could it be that all the nations of the world stood by silently while the Germans killed millions of Jews?” The Chazon Ish replied, “Is it not an explicit Gemora in Kesubos that if the Jewish people violates the Three Oaths, Hashem will permit their flesh like the deer and the hinds of the field?”

The Chazon Ish once said to Rabbi Ahron Katzenellenboigen, “The reason Jews are so confused by the Zionist state is that the state is the 50 gates of defilement. To overcome this we need the 50 gates of holiness. Since the 50th gate of holiness is hidden from us, therefore the confusion is so great, for we cannot stand up against the 50 gates of defilement of the state.” (Mishkenos Haro’im p. 1195)

Although the official declaration of the state was made on May 14, 1948, it was preceded by six months of fighting, in which the Zionists brought the anger of the local and neighboring Arabs upon the Jews of Eretz Yisroel. Jerusalem was besieged, and the Arab villages along the western approach to Jerusalem became major battefields. In the midst of this war, on April 8, 1948, the Brisker Rav and the Chazon Ish encouraged all the religious Jews of Jerusalem to come out to the streets and wave the white flag to show the Arabs and the British that they were not Zionists and wanted no part in this war. The demonstration was led by Rabbi Yaakov Halperin, a close disciple of the Chazon Ish, and Rabbi Amram Blau, a close disciple of the Brisker Rav.

Several hundred Jews of the Old Yishuv gathered in the Meah Shearim Yeshiva to say Tehillim and hear speeches. Then they came out and began to march down Meah Shearim Street. Businesses closed and thousands of other residents joined the march. They held white banners reading, “We are for peace! We demand a ceasefire!” The leaflets they handed out read, “Do not blindly follow the leaders of the Zionist Agency, who refuse to listen to our holy Torah! Do not allow your sons and daughters to be killed for the sake of a state of emptiness! We are for peace! Jews, rise up against the policies of the leadership of the Agency, who are mafkir Jewish blood. The Zionist leadership does not represent us! We are Jews, and we will follow the Torah’s guidance! We are for peace! We turn to the British Government to save us from our predicament!”

The demonstrators had planned to march to the British Mandate offices to deliver their message in person. But they had only reached Geulah Street when the Zionist Haganah met them with blows and shots. They beat the demonstrators mercilessly until they scattered and ran home. The Zionists also confiscated all films and pictures taken of the demonstration before they could reach the media. The Jews of the Old Yishuv submitted their plea to the British in writing.

The Chazon Ish later remarked, “When the state was established, there was a kitrug (accusation) in Heaven against Jews of Eretz Yisroel for not leaving the state. I myself was ready to leave. But when they marched in Jerusalem holding white banners demanding a ceasefire, the accusation was dropped and there was atonement.”

Reb Yoel Kluft once asked the Chazon Ish, “The Mishnah says that one may not raise sheep and goats in Eretz Yisroel, because they often consume the grass of other people’s fields. But the Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 409:1) says that nowadays this law does not apply, since it is unusual for a Jew to own land in Eretz Yisroel. What about today?” The Chazon Ish replied, “The Zionist state does not change the halacha. How long will their state last anyway – fifty years?” (Maaseh Ish, v. 4 p. 228)

When the question of founding a state was put to him by Agudah activists, he spoke against it (Mikatowitz Ad Hei B’Iyar, p. 97). He was against Agudah joining the Zionist government (ibid. p. 93).

His opinion on voting is far from clear. The compilers of Pe’er Hador tried to prove that he favored voting based on three or four stories told by people close to him. Subsequent investigation has shown that in some of these stories, the issue was actually the municipal elections for Bnei Brak under the British Mandate. In others, he was not asked whether to vote, but only whom to vote for. Furthermore, Rabbi Elyakim Schlessinger relates that when the state held its first elections and the Beis Din of the Edah Charedis in Jerusalem issued their ruling forbidding Jews to vote, and the Agudists used the Chazon Ish’s name to fight a propaganda campaign against the Edah, the Chazon Ish sent him to Rabbi Pinchas Epstein, rav of the Edah, to give him encouragement in standing by his negative ruling. Rabbi Shmuel Chortkov relates that he asked the Chazon Ish if he should vote, and the Chazon Ish said no. (ibid. pp. 159-161)

Furthermore, all versions agree that the Chazon Ish himself did not vote, for he even refused to register himself as an Israeli citizen or take out an identity card. (ibid. p. 163) This was attested to by Rabbi Refoel Halperin, Rabbi Moshe Scheinfeld, and Rabbi Kalman Cahana.

When the Satmar Rebbe visited Bnei Brak in the summer of 1952, the Chazon Ish greeted the Rebbe with both hands, a gesture no one had ever seen him do for anyone else. During their conversation, the Rebbe asked the Chazon Ish why he did not found a Yiddish-speaking cheder. The Chazon Ish replied, “You are a man whose Master helps him, so you should be the one to do it.”

With the encouragement of the Chazon Ish, the Satmar Rebbe established the only Yiddish-speaking Talmud Torah in Bnei Brak, as well as a yeshiva and beis medrash. The Chazon Ish told his talmidim to send their children to the new cheder, known as Tashbar Chazon Ish.

Later, after the passing of the Chazon Ish, as enrollment in Tashbar increased, some of the parents asked Tashbar to hire a rebbe who would teach with the Lithuanian pronunciation. The Rebbe recommended that the Lithuanian parents open a separate branch of the cheder. Following his advice, they opened the Lithuanian branch in the Chazon Ish’s house. The Rebbe donated a large sum of money to start them out, and over the years he continued to support it. To this day, the Tashbar cheder is supported by the Satmar community. (Tiferes Yoel, v. 2 p. 113)

The Rebbe related that he spoke with the Chazon Ish about the question of yeshivas and chinuch institutions accepting money from the Zionist government. The Chazon Ish said, “There is no heter for this.” When the Rebbe pointed out that there were some rabbis who took money, the Chazon Ish replied, “They are not rabbanim; they just daven Mincha and Maariv.” (Tiferes Yoel v. 1 p. 56; v. 3 p. 102)

In 1948, after the Israeli army conquered large amounts of land from the Arabs, Jewish merchants cut beautiful lulavim from that land and brought them to the market. A certain talmid chacham was considering buying one, but first he went to the Chazon Ish and asked, “Is this lulav prohibited as a stolen lulav? Or do we say that the Haganah acquired it through military conquest?” The Chazon Ish replied angrily, in a loud voice, “What military conquest? What military conquest?” And he did not permit the man to buy it. (Orchos Rabbeinu v. 2 p. 246, Maaseh Ish v. 5 p. 188)

Read about the halachic reasons not to use a lulav from land stolen from the Palestinians.
Read about Israeli legislation to legalize keeping conquered land.

Click here to read the words of the Chazon Ish in Lashon Hakodesh.


Rabbinic Quotations

Chazon Ish

Yom Haatzmaut