Thursday, April 06, 2006

Chabad supports Meir Kahana?

Forward: Bucking the advice of their rabbis, about 30% of voters in Israel's main Chabad-Lubavitch stronghold cast their ballots for a candidate who advocated the mass expulsion of Arabs, branded Israeli leaders traitors and called for the execution of some liberals.Baruch Marzel, running under the banner of the National Jewish Front, failed to reach the 2% threshold needed to qualify for a Knesset seat and, perhaps more strikingly, failed to win a single vote in dozens of municipalities throughout Israel. Even in the West Bank, where opposition to Israeli territorial concessions is much higher than it is in Israel, Marzel — a 46-year-old Boston native and a disciple of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane — managed to win significant support in only a few of the smallest, most extreme Jewish settlements in the West Bank.But in Kfar Chabad — the Lubavitch town located inside Israel proper, just east of Tel Aviv — Marzel won almost a third of the 1,714 votes cast, even though the local rabbis had urged residents to back parties with a realistic chance of winning Knesset seats. His next-best showings inside Israel's pre-1967 borders were in the historic Galilee city of Tzfat (8%) and the working-class southern city of Kiryat Malachi (4%), two municipalities with sizable Chabad communities.Marzel's support from Chabad voters poses a potentially embarrassing development for the global network of emissaries loyal to the vision of the late Lubavitcher rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson....Chabad officials in America seemed reluctant to comment for the record on Marzel's results, even as they tried to dismiss his success among their followers as a protest vote against the other religious parties. Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Chabad's representative in Washington, stressed that the rabbinical court in Kfar Chabad had directed followers not to vote for Marzel.....
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