The streets of Bnei Brak were thronged with tens of thousands of people from all over the country who came in answer to the call of Gedolei Yisrael to show their support for the United Torah Judaism list for Knesset on Wednesday afternoon. The rally was called due to the state of emergency after two years in which chareidi Jewry was repeatedly targeted by government actions, and the fear that if the party will not garner enough seats in next week’s elections, its ability to counter those attempts will be diminished.
Long lines of buses carried participants from cities and towns throughout Israel to the site of the rally, which had to be closed off two hours before starting time due to the massive inflow of traffic. The rally was held at the intersection of Rabi Akiva and Rabi Kahaneman streets in Bnei Brak.
Rabbi Eliezer Sorotzkin, head of Lev L’Achim and the number-eight candidate on the party’s list, emceed the event. He asked all those present to fill out a form pledging to bring at least one person besides himself to the polls for United Torah Judaism, at the behest of the Gedolei Yisrael.
UTJ MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni, the first to address the crowd, described how he, along with his colleagues in the Knesset, fought against the wave of anti-Torah decrees during the past two years, including the drafting of yeshivah students and reform conversions — while at the same time they succeeded in establishing new Torah schools in the periphery and helping yeshivos to survive despite severe budget cuts.
Harav Moshe Mordechai Chadash, Rosh Yeshivas Ohr Elchonon, spoke of the involvement of Gedolei Hadoros, zt”l, in all the elections in Israel in leading and backing the effort to inspire all bnei Torah to vote for the banner of Torah Judaism.
UTJ MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler read aloud a letter from the Belzer Rebbe, shlita, written to participants at a special election rally for Belzer Chassidim earlier this week in which he called upon everyone to “act on behalf of the success of the United Torah Judaism slate, represented at the ballot box by the letter Gimmel, because many basic principles of the Torah depend on it. It is incumbent upon every Jew to do all he can to bring about a kiddush Hashem, and that entails supporting the United Torah Judaism candidates in this election.”
Harav Aviezer Piltz, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Tifrach, spoke at length about the obligation to participate in elections, which has been declared by Gedolei Hador as the weapon against those seeking to undermine Yiddishkeit in the Holy Land.
At this point, Gedolei Yisrael arrived at the dais, led by Hagaon Harav Aharon Leib Steinman, shlita, and Hagaon Harav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita.
Harav Yosef Efrati quoted Hagaon Harav Yosef Shalom Eliyashiv, zt”l, from a rally for UTJ six years ago, that it is the obligation of the hour to work for UTJ.
Harav Steinman told the crowd that there are some deeds that cause a kiddush Hashem, others that cause a chillul Hashem. “Every Jew must do everything in his power to sanctify the Name of Hashem and to increase the honor of Shamayim, and that is the thing that is incumbent upon us by voting for the UTJ-Gimmel list.”
Harav Eliyahu Mann, speaking on behalf of Harav Kanievsky, said that it is an obligation to vote and that one who votes Gimmel merits to sanctify the Name of Hashem and will merit brachah, hatzlachah and an abundance in all matters.
Harav Yehudah Silman, a Dayan on the beis din of Harav Nissim Karelitz, shlita, quoted Harav Karelitz on the importance of voting next week.
Harav Gershon Edelstein, Rosh Yeshivas Ponevezh; Harav Yitzchak Zilberstein, Rav of Ramat Elchanan; and Harav Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi, Rosh Yeshivas Ateret Yisrael, also addressed the event.
The event was concluded with the recital of Tehillim for the recovery of the Posek Hador, Hagaon Harav Shmuel Halevi Wosner, shlita, Shmuel ben Rachel, followed by Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim.