Thursday, July 19, 2007

Gaydamak: I’m a haredi without a kippah

"I’m a haredi without a kippah"

How's that for a quote?

I wonder what jblogosphere (and part time lurker) Chareidi blogger, "Ed" would say to such a statement?

While such statements probably don't win Gaydamak any fans in the Chareidi community, there is still much to be said for this statement.
"I will be the next mayor of Jerusalem, God willing," said billionaire Arcadi Gaydamak in a Hebrew-language interview with the strictly Orthodox radio station Kol Chai on Wednesday.

Gaydamak, who normally only speaks English or Russian in public, was confident he had the haredi vote. Despite his admittance to not keeping Shabbat or kashrut, he said, "I am haredi, without the kippah".

When asked about his stance on yeshiva students enlisting to the army, he said, "Why do we need an army? To protect the Jews. Our country is Jewish. If young men don’t study Torah, we won’t be a Jewish country, so why would we even need an army?"

Gaydamak called his purchase of Jerusalem’s Bikur Holim hospital "a mitzvah, not business", and vowed that it would be the best hospital in the country. "Many doctors promised me they would return if I, Gaydamak, am there," he said. (YNET)
While this will probably draw cynical snickers from some of our Chareidi readers, there was an article in Makor Rishon a few weeks back with the subtitle, "Who was the IDF Officer who ate clams, but voted Mafdal (Mizrachi)?"

No, it wasn't about a Modern Orthodox IDF officer who ate treif, but about a non-religious IDF officer, Erez Gerstein who had a deep connection to Israel and Judaism -- and died protecting Israel.

I guess while not all of Israel's kings were the finest of Torah-observers, the rabbanim at the time still gave them lots of respect for furthering the cause of Jews and Israel.

Food for thought. (Ed: What do you think?)

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


Anonymous said...

One of the big problems in the chareidi world (not to say that nonchareidi don't have the same problem)is thatthey think the only good Jews are the chareidi ones. They don't believe that a nonreligious person can love judaism and israel. Gaydamak may not be religious, but I think his dedication to Israel and the Jewish people has been proven beyond a doubt.

duvid said...

I'd be very cautious of him. He's durty rich, so a few million here and there doesn't make a big difference to him. What's concerning me very much is that he's planning to have an arab minister if he gets elected. How's that for his "Our country is Jewish..."!?
He knows that chareidim have the biggest voting power in Yerushalaim, so he's now licking up to them...

tafka PP said...

Jameel- for real- is the the beginning of your Arkady Endorsement campaign?!

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Tafka PP: I'm not endorsing him! However, he gets such a bad rap from Israel's press, elite, and politicians, that the good he does should be acknowledged.

Duvid: Why is he any worse than Jerusalem's current mayor? Does he do everything that you like as well?

And -- I think it's a bonus that he's rich. That way, he wont be bought off.

Rav Yehuda HaNasi was also very wealthy...wealth isn't neccessarily a bad thing

duvid said...

"I think it's a bonus that he's rich. That way, he wont be bought off."

"Yesh lo mane - rotze mataim..." To guarantee that someone won't be bought off he has to be a "sone betza". And Gaidamak apparently loves "betza", be it money, kavod, political power, etc. Yes he CAN be bought off if given the right currency...

As someone who grew up in russia I get very scared that a russian millionere could be running the ir hakodesh... Russians (even russian jews) were raised for generations on the notion that "ein din v'ein dayan" (chas v'shalom). It's in their (our) blood... and it's very hard to get it out of us. So when I hear of a russian millionere who wants to get into politics, totally non religious, licking up to all the right powers, and sais he'll have an arab minister... you know what I think...

That's why I'm very cautious of him...

Anonymous said...

BTW, who's running against him?

Liza said...

While it's definitely true that he's done some good (I might even go so far as to say great on occasion) deeds here, it's more than a little unnerving to watch as he essentially buys his way into the hearts of Israeli citizens, buying their adoration, buying popularity, etc.

I don't trust him - it's so transparent to me that he's doing all of this in order to obtain respectability and earn votes. It just seems really wrong and unethical. Of course, so many of today's politicians fall under the "wrong and unethical" banner anyway, but still... I think it sets a dangerous precedent when a private citizen uses his wealth as Gaydamak has.

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