NEW YORK (VINnews) — Following the VIN exclusive last week, in which it was reported that Rabbi Aron Feldman and Rabbi Malkiel Kotler threatened to quit the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah of Agudas Israel of America of which they are both members, it seems that Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, the leading Posek of Lithuanian Jewry has issued a bombshell ruling.
Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky wrote Rabbi Kanievsky a two page handwritten in depth letter, presenting the question of whether one should vote in the WZO elections. Rabbi Kanievsky responded that it was 100% permitted according to Halacha, giving the strongest backing possible to Rabbi Kamenetsky and Rabbi Elya Brudny who had both ruled it was permitted before coming under attack for their opinion.
Meanwhile, a Moetzes meeting was held on the phone where the issue was discussed. Rabbi Kotler and Rabbi Feldman once again questioned Rabbi Kamenetsky who responded by reading his in depth letter and response from Rabbi Kanievsky. The meeting was immediately adjourned.
Despite this, Rabbi Feldman – who is the Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Yisroel of Baltimore – for some reason decided to release a letter on Friday in a Lakewood publication blasting Rabbi Brudny for stating that people should vote for the WZO.
Rabbi Feldman states in his public letter that Rabbi Brudny withdrew his position. In fact, that is not the case at all. Neither Rabbi Kaminetzky or Rabbi Brudny have retracted their opinions. In fact, they have doubled down following the ruling of Rabbi Kanievsky and Rabbi Edelstein.
Rabbi Kotler, the Rosh Yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha, is an ardent supporter of what has been become known as the “Peleg Yerushalmi,” which follow the views of the late Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach. As of late, he has become a vehement anti-Zionist, going as far as to throw support behind Satmar. While Rabbi Kotler opposes simply voting in the WZO elections, it appears he has no issue that the Chairman of Beth Medrash Gavoah, Mr. Howard Tzvi Friedman, is an ardent Zionist who served multiple times as the Chairman and President of AIPAC, the most Zionist organization in the United States.