Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, Belzer Rebbe (1854-1925)

Zionism itself is founded on denial of G-d’s providence, reward and punishment and the coming of the redeemer. Nationalism is built only on the ruins of the holy Torah, belief in G-d, His prophets, and the Talmudic Sages. Therefore, even if the movement were led by G-d-fearing, righteous men with the best of intentions, it would be impossible for it not to destroy faith and Torah. (Kuntres 22 Cheshvan, p. 108)

Once he refused to sit down at his Friday night tish, because one of his relatives, a Mizrachi rabbi, was present. The man was forced to leave, and only then the Rebbe came in. (Kuntres Mipi Dodi, stories told by Rabbi Moshe Kliers of Tiberias; Mishkenos Haro’im p. 378)

He stood out as someone who kept on the lookout, checking up on and determining the character of all the various movements that arose in his time. He was a strong opponent of the Zionist movement until his dying day. Every day he would warn his followers, who streamed to him from all parts of the world, not to stumble, G-d forbid, in coming close to or even identifying with this movement. Every Sabbath at the third meal, when all Chassidic rebbes give speeches full of words of Torah and inspiration for their followers, the Belzer Rebbe made the Zionists and Mizrachists one of the focal points of his speeches. One by one, he would enumerate all the prohibitions that this movement and all who joined it transgressed. (Kol Yisroel, Cheshvan 5686 (1926); Mishkenos Haro’im p. 377)

The viewpoint of the newspaper Machzikei Hadas was based on the strong opinions of the Belzer Rebbe. At the time when the Zionist movement was founded, all the greatest rabbis came out with a declaration against Zionism, which was printed in the Machzikei Hadas. From then on, the newspaper would attack the Zionist philosophy at every opportunity. In the year 5684 (1924) a declaration was published in Machzikei Hadas against the Mizrachi and the Zionists, with the signatures of more than a hundred rebbes and rabbis from all over Hungary. The newspaper published more open letters and announcements from time to time against the Zionists and the Mizrachi people. For example, one open letter featured the signatures of Russian rabbis and stated, “Our brothers, faithful Jews, be strong for our people and our Torah, close the breach and let us resolve not to let the destructive Mizrachi Zionist philosophy into our houses. (Mishkenos Haro’im p. 378)

“But it could be that before the arrival of moshiach, the Satan’s efforts will succeed and the wicked will get a state in Eretz Yisroel. Therefore it is an obligation on every Jew who must leave his home to move to America or somewhere else, but not to Eretz Yisroel under the state of these wicked men, because their state would be a great danger to every Jew’s body and soul.” (Om Ani Chomah v. 6 13 Adar I 5717)


Rabbinic Quotations



Leaving the Zionist State