Featured Image
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives to attend a photo opportunity with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the United Nations Headquarters on September 20, 2023, in New York CityPhoto by Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Help Christians who escaped Gaza: LifeFunder

(LifeSiteNews) –– This is the third part of an investigation into Chabad-Lubavitch, the international Hasidic Jewish denomination based in New York. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (known by many as “The Rebbe” or “The Lubavitcher Rebbe”) was responsible for transforming it into the powerhouse that it is today. Read Part I here and Part II here

Few Americans are aware of Chabad’s intensely messianic and racialist focus. Rather, Chabad is widely considered to be a warm, friendly Jewish “outreach” group, focused on the affirmation of Jewish identity among Jews, and on education amongst non-Jews. 

But this is a further side to Chabad. In the Israeli paper Haaretz, Rabbi Eric Yoffie explains how the movement presents itself considerably differently in Israel compared to elsewhere in the world: 

[D]uring a decade of intense political involvement, which included high-profile campaigns and a central role for the Rebbe himself through ads, pictures, and direct quotations in various publications and campaign literature, Chabad did not say a word in America about its political work in Israel.

In Israel, Chabad and the Rebbe aspired to be a major political force in promoting their political agenda. 

In America, they were intent on enjoying the image and support that came with being a non-partisan, non-political religious body, engaged in Jewish education and outreach.[1]

Because of this, Yoffie speaks in terms of “Chabad’s two-faced game of political radicalism in Israel and political neutrality in America,” and says that continuing such a strategy is impossible in the internet age.  

But these are not two or three separate ways in which Chaad presents itself. Rather, these different presentations all come together in the light of the organization’s goals of bringing about the Moshiach (the messiah) and a utopian messianic era. 

Chabad and Schneerson teach a clearly defined doctrine about the Moshiach’s imminent coming, and what he will achieve. His coming may be hastened by: 

  • The performance of mitzvot (the 613 commandments or ritual actions of Rabbinic Judaism) 
  • The spreading of “Yiddishkeit” (“Jewishness,” Jewish customs and way of life, and Rabbinic Judaism itself) amongst Jews 

When the Moshiach arrives, he will: 

  • Rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem 
  • Gather all the exiled Jews into the land of Israel 
  • “Fight the wars of God and be successful” 
  • Achieve world peace through the Noahide Laws and the subjection of non-Jews to Jews.[3] 

But what is the relationship between these conditions and goals, and how are they related? 

Chabad appears to follow Maimonides in holding that these four goals will be achieved by the Moshiach, rather than being conditions for his coming. Once they are achieved – and particularly the rebuilding of the Temple and the ingathering of the exiles – it will be clear to all that the given “presumptive” claimant is indeed the (supposedly) real Moshiach. 

As discussed, rebuilding the Temple and the ingathering the entire Jewish nation will inevitably cause massive global conflict between the Islamic world and Israel and its allies. This is perhaps foreseen in the third point above, about fighting “the wars of God” – and in the idea that the Moshiach will arrive during some kind of great war, sometimes referred to as being between two powers symbolically called “Gog and Magog.”[4]

In the previous part, we saw that Schneerson also taught a doctrine of racial supremacy, in which non-Jewish souls and bodies are inferior to those of Jews. As a result of this, non-Jews in the messianic era will “serve and assist the Jews” and will realize that this is “the purpose of their existence.”[5]

These are not the ideas of an insignificant religious sect. Chabad-Lubavitch has a wide, international network of influence; and its associates have long been a significant voting bloc in Israel.[6]

In this piece we are going to discuss some aspects of Chabad’s influence in the state of Israel. The connections which we will discuss do not necessarily demonstrate a deep alignment of ideology between the various parties.  

Nonetheless, they do demonstrate that despite (or perhaps because of) its apocalyptic goals and racialist ideology, Chabad is a very influential force to be reckoned with. 

Netanyahu ‘will pass the scepter to the Messiah’

As mentioned, Chabad rhetoric speaks as if the arrival of the Moshiach is imminent.  

Perhaps as a result of this, some sources suggest that in Chabad’s doctrine, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is closely linked to the coming of the Moshiach.  

For instance, Rabbi Levi Sudri (who does not appear to be affiliated with Chabad himself) says that “it is very clear” that Netanyahu himself is a sort of “first-stage” Moshiach. According to this schema, Netanyahu would be the “Moshiach ben Yosef” (“son of Joseph”), who is a reincarnation of the biblical Jonathon and “whose function is to prepare the spiritual groundwork, to make the world ready to receive the much more powerful light of Moshiach ben David.”[7]

Reported in Israel 365, Sudri also says: 

Rabbi Schneerson told Netanyahu that he would give the scepter to the Melech HaMoshiach (Messianic king, i.e. Moshiach ben David).[8]

The Netanyahu-aligned Israel Today repeats this idea with further detail and predictions: 

About 30 years ago, the late Lubavitcher Rebbe told a young Netanyahu that ‘he, Benjamin Netanyahu, will be Israel’s prime minister, who will pass the scepter to the Messiah.’

The Lubavitcher Rebbe said this during the election campaign in the 1990s, before Netanyahu’s first term in office.[9]

While this claim does not appear in the English-language material on the Chabad website itself, it does suggest that some believe Netanyahu has a quasi-prophetic role to play in the eschatological history of Israel, and that they are citing Schneerson to this effect.[10] 

It is certain, however, that Schneerson played a significant public role in Netanyahu’s career.  

Netanyahu once quoted Schneerson’s very critical words of the U.N. in front of the assembly of the United Nations.[11]

He described his first encounter with Schneerson in 1984 as a “fantastic meeting, a tremendous meeting, and his account shows how moved he was by his person.[12]

Netanyahu also visited him at the start of his career in the Knesset, saying to him: 

I thank you for the opportunities to be helped by you, and to receive the spiritual guidance you provide not just me, but all Jews […] I have come to you at the start [of my work] – and I intend to return to you many times.[13]

There are two videos available of Netanyahu meeting with Schneerson. In one of these, Schneerson warmly endorses Netanyahu’s ideas and approach. He also says: 

Surely you won’t be intimidated, because God is on this [Netanyahu’s] side. Blessing and success with God’s mission.[14]

Another recorded meeting in 1990 featured the following exchange: 

Schneerson: Much success. I haven’t seen you in a long time. 

Netanyahu: Too long.

Schneerson: Blessing and success. 

Netanyahu: Thank you.

Schneerson: A double portion of benediction.

Netanyahu: I came to ask your blessing and help.

Schneerson: In everything.

Netanyahu: In all areas – both person and political.

Schneerson: Since we last met, things have progressed.

Netanyahu: Many thinks have progressed. 

Schneerson: What has not yet changed, however, is that Moshiach still hasn’t come; so do something to hasten his coming. 

Netanyahu: We’re doing, we’re doing…

Schneerson: Apparently it’s not enough, since many hours have already passed today and he’s still not here… but there are still a few hours left in the day, so try still for today.

Netanyah: Yes.

Schneerson: Good tidings – with joy and happiness.[15]

In 2019, Netanyahu commemorated Rabbi Schneerson and said:  

Today we mark 25 years of missing the Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who changed the world and had such a great influence on me. We will always remember him.[16]

In light of this, let’s consider further evidence of Schneerson’s influence in Israeli political issues, and how it may be related to increasing conflict with the Muslims in Palestine and Jerusalem. 

Further Israeli political connections 

Under Prime Minister Nethanyahu’s current government, those Jews who wish to prepare for the building of the Third Temple – and by nature increase conflict with the Arab world – have increased influence. A news report of December 2023 states: 

Since December, Benjamin Netanyahu has led a government alongside extreme-right ministers who advocate imposing Israeli sovereignty on the Al-Aqsa mosque compound.[17]

The report goes on to say that just in one year, some 50,000 Jews entered the compound of Al-Aqsa mosque, where at present only Muslims are allowed to pray. 

As discussed previously, Schneerson’s language and rhetoric repeatedly refers to the Temple being built as soon as is possible. For example, in one video, when Schneerson was given a reconstruction of the Second Temple by a couple of his visitors, who then told him they hope it will be built soon, Schneerson replied: 

Very soon, that is the main thing.[18]

He appeared to refer to this idea as a blessing on several occasion. When some children gave him a reconstruction of the temple, Schneerson said:  

God almighty should grant them the opportunity to help build the third Beis HaMikdash [temple].[19]

To a supporter who had donated building materials to the movement, Schneerson said:  

May you take part in the building of the Beis HaMikdash – the ‘big’ Beis HaMikdash.[20]

After blessing this donor’s family, he added:  

[M]ay they assist you in building the Beis HaMikdash. May there be good news.[21]

In 1984, Schneerson also made the following impassioned comments in a conference: 

‘If the Temple was not rebuilt in your lifetime, it’s as if it were destroyed in your lifetime.’ […]

This isn’t some kind of sermon.It’s an explicit ruling in Torah, that if one does not merit for the Temple to be rebuilt in his lifetime, then it’s as if he caused the exact opposite.[22]

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, writing on the Chabad website also links the building of the Temple with the return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel: 

Yet construction of the Third Temple is not just another element of the ingathering of the exiles. It’s the key. From the classic sources, it seems that when it comes time for all the Jewish people to return to their land, the Temple will need to be built first. For some reason, the whole process can’t kick off until then.[23]

We have already discussed Schneerson’s views on the Temple at length. But while there is urgency in this rhetoric, Schneerson refers to “meriting” the rebuilding, and does not seem to advocate actually starting before the messianic era arrives 

This is because while the coming of the Messiah is closely linked with the building of the Temple, Chabad’s doctrine leans towards saying that the Moshiach is the one who will build the Temple, and not the Temple which will bring the Moshiach. 

However, the urgent rhetoric and the messianic atmosphere fostered by Chabad, along with the ideas of racial supremacy previously discussed, may be encouraging others to take more active and provocative steps  

But rebuilding the Temple is not the only example of links between Chabad, the Israeli government, and controversial policies.  

Schneerson, Israel and settlements 

Chabad does not have a political party, and generally does not endorse political candidates.[24] In 2015, the Israeli Chabad Beis Din (the body connecting Chabad rabbis in Israel) wrote: 

The Rebbe stated Chabad is not a party and it’s not affiliated with any political party. Our mission is to work to prepare for the coming of Moshiach.[25]

However, according to Haaretz, Chabad in Israel “is affiliated with the political right wing, and its followers tend to be staunch supporters of the settler movement”[26] and continues to support attempts to settle on the contested territories.[27]

There are a variety of views amongst Haredi (so-called “ultra-orthdox”) Jews, and some place a great religious emphasis on the physical land of Israel, and the need for it to be in the hands of the Jewish people, and only the Jewish people – albeit with a certain number of non-Jews who observe the Noahide Laws, and thus implicitly are to be subject to the considerable civil disadvantages which these Laws bring.[28] 

In a similar way to its teaching about the Temple, while Chabad supports the settler movement and opposes territorial concessions and Palestinian authority, it nonetheless seems to teach that the ingathering will be achieved by the Moshiach and be a sign that the messianic era has arrived, rather than being a condition for his coming. 

In fact, as Freeman suggests above, Chabad seems to hold that the ingathering depends not just on the Moshiach’s coming, but on his rebuilding of the Temple as well. 

Schneerson against territorial concessions and a Palestinian state 

Nonetheless, Schneerson “ruled that it is against Jewish law to give up even ‘one inch’ of the land” and opposed Israel’s decision to concede the Sinai Desert in the 1980s in order to achieve peace.[29] 

Such ideas can be found throughout Schneerson’s writing. Yoffie explains:  

The writings of the late Rabbi Schneerson often stressed the centrality of the interrelated concepts of shleimut ha’am, shleimut ha’aretz, and shleimut hatorah(the wholeness of the people of Israel, the wholeness of the Land of Israel, and the wholeness of the Torah).[30]

He also reported Schneerson’s comments in 1992, on plans to grant autonomy to Palestinian authorities: 

Even talk of an autonomy plan is a chilul ha’shem and a chilul ha’kodesh. [A desecration of God’s name and a desecration of the holy].[31]

However, Mendi Gruzman gives a different explanation: 

The rebbe opposed giving back any land not out of any great belief in the Greater Land of Israel ideology, but rather, because he thought it would be dangerous.[32]

Rabbi Yitzchak Yehuda Yaroslavsky – whom many see as the senior Chabad rabbi in Israel – explained that Schneerson and Chabad’s opposition to territorial concessions on the grounds that “giving away territory threatens the lives of Jews.”[33] 

Whatever his exact reasoning, Schneerson always stressed that Israel should never concede Israeli land to the Arabs as a means of achieving peace or compromise. On this matter, he not only exercised influence over Netanyahu, but also previous Prime Ministers David Ben-Gurion, Menachem and Ariel Sharon who were his admirers.  and Ariel Sharon who were his admirers.[34] 

The latter two honored him publicly, and sought his advice in private too.[35] Sharon said that Schneerson would send him letters about even military problems, “analyzing, as a military expert, what will happen.”[36] 

The extent of his influence with Sharon, and Israeli politics in general, can be seen in Sharon’s summary of Schneerson’s advice to him in 1969:  

The Rebbe maintains that we must stop being apologetic when it comes to Israel’s borders, to stop trying to justify our stance. We must look at our current borders as the legitimate borders of Israel. He said: ‘The only determining factor here is the security of Jews in Israel.’

That is the sole factor. And if the security of Jews in Israel demands that these be the borders, then these borders must be held.

And it isn’t sufficient to merely hold the borders. The areas must be settled. 

There is no reason to apologize. The territories are our own and we must settle them.[37]

There are other videos of Schneerson’s meetings with supporters in which he voices similar sentiments.[38] 

Schneerson’s status was so high that the Israeli government appears to have been making him promises about their policy on these matters, as well as giving him inside information about their intentions. For example, in one video, Schneerson says that the Israeli government had assured him that the talks with Arabs over land concessions were only for the sake of appearances: 

They promised me and they will surely keep their promise, that of all the talks there will not be any concessions of territories. The talks are only so the public shouldn’t say that Eretz Ysroel isn’t interested in peace.[39]

2019 election shows support for Jewish Power Party in Chabad-dominated areas 

This concern for the value of each Jewish life and for the avoidance of all territorial concessions continues to be important for Chabad today, with various consequences for the Israeli political discourse. 

In 2019, there were tacit instructions for supporters not to vote for the Otzma Yehudit (“Jewish Power”) party, on the grounds that it seemed unlikely to pass the electoral threshold.[40]  

Nonetheless, this party did well in areas dominated by the Chabad movement.[41] Haaretz states that this was likely because of their policies against conceding lands to Palestinian control.[42] The same 2019 Chabad rabbis’ instructions also stated: 

Every person who fears G-d should participate in the elections and vote for the most religious parties,” the letter read. 

Care should be taken that not a single vote will go to waste.

Do not support a party which negotiates regarding giving away parts of the Holy Land, or which negotiates providing any sort of autonomy to non-Jews.[43]

Nonetheless, Haaretz claims that the results show Chabad members “disproportionately supported” the “far-right, anti-Arab party” of Jewish Power, which “had its best showings in towns and communities with relatively large concentrations of Chabad Hasidim.”[44]

Let’s take a look at this party’s famous leader, Itamar Ben-Gvir, and consider how far his ideas align with Chabad’s. 

Itamar Ben-Gvir and links with Chabad

As well as leading the Jewish Power party, Itamar Ben-Gvir is a minister in the Israeli Government. His party is in a coalition with Netanyahu’s Likud party, and as such Netanyahu is, in some sense, dependent on him.  

Frank Wright has suggested that Netanyahu is, to some degree, dependent on Ben-Gvir’s support: 

Netanyahu has been indicted four times and currently faces prosecution on several counts of corruption. […]

… [T]he death of peace [in the current war] is not a surprise but a strategy. It saves Netanyahu from prosecution, which would likely see him imprisoned if he was no longer Prime Minister. This crisis is convenient, as only last week his Culture Minister Miki Zohar said Netanyahu would probably lose an election if it were called.

Without the support of Ben-Gvir and his religious settler party, Netanyahu is finished. This is a further reason he has given carte blanche to the settlers and their demands for the violent expropriation of the Palestinians everywhere in Israel.[45]

Ben-Gvir is frequently called a “firebrand character.” Haaretz has called Ben-Gvir’s party “Kahanist”, and linked it to Meir Kahane, “the racist rabbi whose Kach party was outlawed in Israel more than 30 years ago.”[46]  

The Guardian states that Ben-Gvir “is considered by many to be the most extremist Israeli politician and has a long history of Arab baiting.”[47]  

Before coming into power, he famously had a portrait of the mass-shooter Baruch Goldstein on his wall. Goldstein shot dead 29 unarmed Arabs in 1994 – but unlike American mass-shooters, Goldstein was admired as a hero by significant sections of Israeli society.  

(In passing, we could note that one such admirer is the Chabad Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh, “one of the leading intellectuals of the Israeli wing of the Chabad-Lubavitch chasidic movement.”[48] Ginsburgh wrote a pamphlet about Goldstein, the title of which is a play on the words “Baruch the Man” and “Blessed is the Man.”[49] Ginsburgh got into trouble for this and other such ideas. A number of Chabad rabbis protested Ginsburgh’s subsequent arrests, demanded his release, and brought him to the USA for a fundraising and publicity tour.[50])  

He has caused controversy by being one of the thousands of nationalists “ascending” to Temple Mount in recent months. We have already explained why this is controversial. As a news report of June 2023 states: 

Since December, Benjamin Netanyahu has led a government alongside extreme-right ministers who advocate imposing Israeli sovereignty on the Al-Aqsa mosque compound. […]

Defying the ban by top rabbis, some 50,000 Jews “ascended to Temple Mount” last year, according to a nationalist Israeli organisation that carries the site’s Hebrew name, Har Habait.

The Jewish visitors include firebrand politician Itamar Ben-Gvir, who has also visited twice this year since becoming Israel’s national security minister.[51]

The Guardian reports him saying the following after his visit there in May 2023: 

I am glad to ascend the Temple Mount, the most important place for the nation of Israel. Police are doing wonderful work here and again giving a reminder of who the master of the house is in Jerusalem. All of Hamas’s threats won’t help. 

We are the masters of Jerusalem and all of the land of Israel.[52]

Haaretz reports that Ben-Gvir’s wife Ayala “is also considered a prominent Temple Mount activist.”[53] The same article also claimed that he has intervened to secure the release of around 20-25 activists who attempted to sacrifice a goat on the Temple Mount in April 2024. The article mentions that such attempts occur every year at Passover – but that these attempts increased in 2024. In May 2024, he entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and made the following statement: 

From the holiest place to the people of Israel, and which belongs only to the people of Israel:

I say that tonight we will receive additional evidence why it is necessary to completely destroy Hamas.

The countries that have today recognized a Palestinian state are giving a reward to the murderers, to the kidnappers, to the persecutors – and I say that we will not allow any surrender, we will not allow any surrender that includes even a declaration of a Palestinian state.

I say one more thing, that in order to destroy Hamas, we need to enter Rafah until the end, to do a root treatment.  We, in order to bring back our prisoners, we need to stop the process. 

We need to establish that it is humanitarian, only humanitarian, and to control this place [points to the ground of Temple Mount], the most important place.[54]

Ben-Gvir’s comments about Christianity are similarly provocative. Following a 2023 spate of Jews spitting at Christians in Israel, Ben-Gvir said that “Not everything justifies an arrest”; similarly, before he was in politics, according to the Times of Israel, he “justified spitting towards Christians as ‘an ancient Jewish custom.’”[55]

Regarding Chabad, in 2021, he and Betzalel Smotrich – another “far right” Israeli politician and Netanyahu’s Finance Minister – visited the Kfar Chabad (the largest Chabad community in Israel).[56]

In March 2023, Ben-Gvir spoke at a Chabad event in Jerusalem, where (according to the translation provided by the popular and Chabad-aligned YouTuber “The Torah Channel”) he made the following statements: 

The Jewish people, we’re commanded to slaughter the sheep, which was the god of the Egyptians. And then the Almighty redeemed us.  

We must also be soldiers and follow the orders of Hashem (God) and the Rebbe (Schneerson) in the ways of Torah. And we will have the Redemption (Moshiach/Messiah).[57] 

In July 2023, Ben-Gvir spoke at an event honoring Chabad in the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) in which he stated: 

… I say from here to President Biden: The Land of Israel is for the People of Israel, according to the Torah of Israel.

We will not compromise on the Land of Israel, we will not compromise on any hilltop or on any outpost. It is ours.[58]

Such a statement strongly implies that he is referring not to the state of Israel as recognized by various international agreements / authorities / institutions, but to the land enclosed by the borders set out in the Bible, which would include Gaza and the West Bank.  

In addition, saying that the land is “for the People of Israel” seems to refer back to the idea that only Jews and those who submit to the Noahide Laws can be permitted to live in Israel, and that “they will serve and assist the Jews,” as Schneerson taught.[59]

These ideas will cause significant problems for Christian and Muslim Israelis citizens. 

As mentioned above, Chabad’s adherents constitute an important voting bloc, and politicians have sought to sway them to their cause. In 2024, The Jerusalem Post stated openly that “Ben-Gvir is courting Chabad voters and wants to win their favor […].”[60] 

As such, campaign visits to Chabad locations and words like the above are not unequivocal signs of support for the movements policies or ideas. However, they do suggest a certain alignment of ideas, as well as a certain political dependence in order to stay in office.  

But Ben-Gvir is not the only member of Netanyahu’s coalition with links to the settler movement, who shows signs of courting Chabad voters.  

Bezalel Smotrich 

As mentioned above, the “far-right” Member of Knesset Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the National Religious Party – Religion Zionism (part of Netanyahu’s current coalition) and current Israeli Finance Minister, also has links with Chabad-Lubavtich. 

Smotrich and Ben-Gvir are often pictured together and appear to be aligned on several issues. In 2023, The Jersualem Strategic Tribune published an article calling them “Israel’s Power Couple.”[61]  

Smotrich has firm views on the matters of territory and settlements. In 2024, he declared 800 hectares of land in the partially Palestinian-controlled West Bank as state land, which is a step towards further building of Israeli settlements.[62] This, of course, is key to the conflict between Israel and Palestinian authorities.  

Earlier this year, he publicly thanked Chabad for its support of soldiers and citizens during the current war.[63]  

On a visit to the United Kingdom in 2022, he had a controversial meeting with representatives of Chabad-Lubavitch UK: 

Jewish News has learned that an initial approach was made to Rabbi Bentzi Sudak, chief executive at Chabad-Lubavitch UK – although the request was for representatives of the organization to meet with an unnamed member of the Knesset, who wished to learn more about the organization’s activities in this country.[64]

Smotrich is not universally appreciated by Jewish groups. At the time, Smotrich was disavowed by the Board of Deputies of British Jews.[65] Chabad-Lubavitch UK told Jewish News: 

MK Smotrich asked to meet with Chabad in the UK to learn about our activities here. Chabad-Lubavitch welcomes all Jews from across the spectrum, regardless of whether we share their opinions or beliefs. History has taught us sowing division among Jews only strengthens our enemies.[66]

Similarly, he visited Schneerson’s grave in New York in 2023 (apparently without the knowledge of the movement’s leadership) and his visit was met with protests.[67] Jewish News stated, at the time of his visit to the UK: 

While Chabad-Lubavitch attempts to project a stance that does not takes sides politically, in Israel, an analysis of recent election voting showed the far-right religious parties picking up a significant number of votes from the Chabad movement. 

Some commentators say this has been driven by the emphasis of the last leader of Chabad, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, on preserving Jewish control of the biblical Land of Israel.[68]

Nor are Smotrich and Ben-Gvir – “Tweedledee and Tweedledum,” as one waggish Israeli journalist called them[69] – the only members of the coalition with links to Chabad. These links extend even to those of apparently different political views. 

Benny Gantz 

Benny Gantz, Israel’s former Minister of Defense and currently a minister without portfolio in Netanyahu’s coalition government, has even more links with Chabad.   

In 2008, a few years before he was made the IDF’s Chief of Staff, Gantz accepted an honor at a Chabad synagogue in Miami, Florida – along with the then Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi.[70] 

In 2012, as IDF Chief of Staff, Gantz visited Jewish schoolchildren at a Chabad center in Beijing, China.[71] 

In 2013, he joined a delegation from a Chabad school in Germany at a Holocaust memorial event.[72]   

In 2021, Rabbi Nachum Cohen visited Gantz at his home – and a Chabad website state that “Gantz is know to have a deep affinity for Chabad, and is sometimes seen in the local Chabad house.”[73] In the same year, he accepted the special set of plants for the feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) from the Israeli Chabad activist Rabbi Yaakov Gloiberman – and this article referred to him as “a close friend of Rabbi Glauberman’s [sic] and of Chabad for many years.”[74] 

In June 2023, the Chabad website reports that Rabbi Nahum Cohen, co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Rosh HaAyin, blew the shofar (horn) at his home and installed a mezuzah in his home office.[75]

Gantz’s politics are somewhat mysterious. Although a part of the coalition, he is often seen as opposed to Netanyahu – which perhaps demonstrates the extent of Chabad links beyond party or ideological lines.  

He is sometimes referred to as “left wing” – although when used in reference to Israeli politics, such terms can be misleading. In 2019, Israel Policy Forum argued that Gantz’s party at the time was “very much a right-wing revisionist party with social justice elements.”[76]

However, there may be some oscillations in his thought or divergences from the Chabad positions discussed elsewhere in this article. For example, while he suggested in 2022 that he would advance Israel’s annexation of the Jordan Valley,[77] but in the same year Haaretz reported that he had “signaled he would make territorial concessions toward the Palestinians.[78] 

However, this may simply be evidence of what Chabad UK said of Smotrich’s visit: Chabad welcomes all Jews, regardless of opinions or beliefs[79] – and as we have seen, this is closely related to furthering its own goals. 


In this article, we have seen some of Chabad’s connections in the state of Israel, both at present and in the past – and considered the possible influence of its messianic goals, esoteric racialism and political ideology. 

Connections between politicians and a significant religious denomination and voting block do not necessarily indicate an alignment in beliefs. It is difficult to tell whether a group is actually influencing the political figures, or whether they may be in the process of doing so, or whether such political figures are simply trying to win votes without any actual sympathy.  

But even in the latter case, it is interesting and very concerning that an organization with an ideology like Chabad’s is so influential in Israeli political life.  

To remind readers, Chabad is one of the foremost promoters of the Noahide Laws in the world, and has made a significant impact with the United States Government to this end. As discussed elsewhere, this Noahide system – which Chabad has managed to promote in America under the auspices of “Education and Sharing Day” – is a form of naturalism, and thus intrinsically incompatible with Christianity. Many of its proponents understand it to be explicitly anti-Christian.   

This is directly linked to Chabad’s ideas about what is necessary for hastening the coming of the Moshiach – something which is of deep concern to Catholics.  

Chabad also teaches a doctrine of racial supremacy, in which Jews have superior souls to non-Jews, and (among many other things) the purpose for the existence of non-Jews is to “serve and assist the Jews.”[80]  

This influence and these ideas may also shed light on aspects of the current conflict in Israel. In light of these ideas, it may be easier to understand why many non-Jews in contested territories have hitherto preferred some level of autonomy in poverty, rather than the status of a Ger Toshav (“resident alien”) and Noahide.  

This influence and these ideas may also help us to understand why what toleration there was for such autonomy in Gaza and the West Bank is to be no more. In 2021, Russian-American-Jewish journalist Yasha Levine wrote about a Chabad Shabbat dinner in Los Angeles, in which the topic of conversation “instantly turned to the need to exterminate Palestinians.”[81]

Levine continued, discussing Meir Kahane’s Kach party, which is considered to be the ideological predecessor to Ben-Gvir’s Jewish Power party:

[C]onsider that in the ’80s Chabad helped funnel tax-deductible donations from the U.S. to Meir Kahane’s political outfit in Israel. Kahane is an ultra-right-wing Orthodox rabbi who emigrated from Brooklyn to Israel, became a politician and called for the mass ethnic cleansing—’slaughter,’ as Kahane call it—of all ‘Arabs’ living in Israel and occupied Palestine.

In 1980, Kahane was arrested in Israel on terrorist charges. He and his followers had been planning to go on a killing spree against Palestinians in the West Bank. In 1988, Kahane’s political party was banned in Israel for being too racist.[82]

But one further question remains.  

Given that so many international figures are happy to share stages and platforms with Chabad figures, and to apparently endorse their movement, are such international figures aware of the abhorrent and dangerous ideas taught by Chabad-Lubavitch, discussed in this series so far? 

In the next part, we will consider just how far these international links extend. 

Help Christians who escaped Gaza: LifeFunder


1, 27, 30, 31, 33 https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2020-06-18/ty-article-opinion/.premium/is-chabad-about-to-make-the-most-calamitous-mistake-in-its-history/0000017f-f2e2-d497-a1ff-f2e215140000
2 Michael Kress, The Modern Noahide Movement, My Jewish Learning. https://web.archive.org/web/20230322212445/https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-modern-noahide-movement/
3, 5 https://www.chabad.org/therebbe/article_cdo/aid/2516709/jewish/Shabbos-Parshas-Beshallach-15th-Day-of-Shevat-5743-1983.htm
4 See Part I, and also Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Sefer Shoftim, Melachim uMilchamot, 12.2.
6 See for example: 





7, 8 https://israel365news.com/323924/is-netanyahu-the-incarnation-of-biblical-jonathan/
9 https://www.israeltoday.co.il/read/lubavitcher-rebbe-after-bibi-comes-the-messiah/  See also: Rabbi Levi Sudri
10 “A rift in the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu-led coalition may lead to new elections, leading some to worry, while others note this development may have been predicted many times over as a precursor to better, much more Messianic times.” https://israel365news.com/327214/netanyahu-holding-keys-messiah/
11 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv5u5U3clEM
12 https://youtu.be/jv5u5U3clEM?feature=shared&t=108  See also: https://youtu.be/GvMIk_-CRj0?feature=shared&t=382 (timestamped)
13 https://youtu.be/pi8HzpBIDaY?feature=shared&t=48
14 1988, 1min 23s, https://youtu.be/pi8HzpBIDaY?feature=shared&t=83
15 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHBiT6eJaQQ
16 https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-rivlin-eulogize-lubavitcher-rebbe-on-25th-anniversary-of-his-death/
17, 51 https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20230605-the-israelis-set-for-new-jewish-temple-on-al-aqsa-site
18, 19, 20, 21 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAP00vhhAk4
22 https://www.chabad.org/therebbe/livingtorah/player_cdo/aid/3002775/jewish/Rebuilding-the-Temple.htm
23 https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2261/jewish/Why-On-Earth-Do-We-Need-a-Third-Temple.htm
24, 29, 32, 41, 42, 44, 46 https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/2019-09-25/ty-article/.premium/israel-election-results-israels-most-far-right-community-is-a-10-minute-drive-from-tel-aviv/0000017f-ed70-d3be-ad7f-ff7b64080000
25 https://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/287044/chabad-beis-din-decides-not-to-recommend-a-party-ahead-of-elections.html
26 https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/2017-01-10/ty-article/.premium/donations-tie-kushners-and-trump-to-chabad-movement/0000017f-ef45-ddba-a37f-ef6fdc270000
28 Such ideas are widely spread. The Jersualem Post reports that Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, the chief Sephardi Rabbi in Israel and admirer of Schneerson and Chabad, stated in 2016:  

“According to Jewish law, it’s forbidden for a non-Jew to live in the Land of Israel – unless he has accepted the seven Noahide laws,” Yosef said in his latest weekly sermon over the weekend.   

Yosef’s comments appear to have been aimed specifically at Palestinians, since he said one of the Noahide laws is not to commit suicide, a reference to suicide bombers and terrorists.  

The Noahide laws, seven specific, basic laws delineated by the Talmud for non-Jews to keep, do not specifically mention suicide, but do prohibit murder.   

“If the non-Jew is unwilling to accept these laws, then we can send him to Saudi Arabia,” the rabbi said. “When there will be full, true redemption, we will do this.”   

Yosef said explicitly that a non-Jew who does abide by the Noahide laws is permitted to live in the Land of Israel, saying that such people will be assistants and helpers for the Jewish people. 


As mentioned, these idea are widely held in Haredi circles beyond Chabad-Lubavitch. However, after visiting his grave in New York in 2019, Yosef expressed his admiration for Schneerson in glowing terms: 

“You have great merit,” Rabbi Yosef told them. “If there wasn’t Chabad, there would be no Judaism, no Torah, nothing. Continue to work and operate as messengers and in the merit of the Rebbe.”  


34 https://www.chabad.org/therebbe/article_cdo/aid/3197335/jewish/When-the-Rebbe-Saved-Ariel-Sharon-from-a-Hijacking.htm  



35 https://www.chabad.org/therebbe/article_cdo/aid/1257812/jewish/The-Israeli-Prime-Ministers-Jewish-Pride.htm
36 https://youtu.be/aSc4PeGpVl0?feature=shared&t=277 Timestamped 4.37.
37 https://youtu.be/aSc4PeGpVl0?feature=shared&t=125 Timestamped 2.05
38 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdT9G3RDkwM
39 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NW0bye-pwQ – He said to Gershon Salamon, of the Temple Mount Faithful
40, 43 https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/267966
45 https://frankwright.substack.com/p/the-death-of-peace-in-israel
47, 52 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/may/21/far-right-minister-itamar-ben-gvir-says-israel-in-charge-on-visit-to-jerusalem-holy-site
48, 49, 50 https://forward.com/news/8955/israeli-rabbi-indicted-for-inciting-racism/
53 https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2024-04-24/ty-article/.premium/right-wing-activists-gloat-ben-gvirs-illegal-intervention-got-them-released-from-arrest/0000018f-0ef2-d0a8-a5ef-bff7cba50000
54 https://www.palestinechronicle.com/aggressive-act-in-first-since-october-7-ben-gvir-storms-al-aqsa-mosque-video/
55 https://www.timesofisrael.com/5-arrested-for-spitting-at-christians-in-jerusalem-police-minister-its-not-criminal/
56 https://chabadinfo.com/news/smotrich-and-ben-gvir-visit-kfar-chabad/
57 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ut7ZCUQykA
58 https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/373942
59, 80 https://www.chabad.org/therebbe/article_cdo/aid/2516709/jewish/Shabbos-Parshas-Beshallach-15th-Day-of-Shevat-5743-1983.htm 

Schneerson is often quoted as saying that Jews and non-Jews are “totally different species,” along with statements about the relative worth of Jewish and non-Jewish embryos, and the idea that “A Jew was not created as a means for some [other] purpose; he himself is the purpose, since the substance of all [divine] emanations was created only to serve the Jews.” 

This commonly-cited text appears to have been translated in an idiosyncratic way, and so has been impossible to verify. Nonetheless, the texts which are available (and provided here) express essentially the same ideas.

60 https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/politics-and-diplomacy/article-797243
61 https://jstribune.com/svetlova-ben-gvir-and-smotrich/
62 https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israel-approves-new-parcel-west-bank-land-settlement-2024-03-22/
63 https://crownheights.info/chabad-news/850726/knesset-member-bezalel-smotrich-thanks-chabad-lubavitch-of-sw-florida-for-their-efforts-assisting-soldiers-and-civilians/
64, 66, 68, 79 https://www.jewishnews.co.uk/representative-of-chabad-lubavitch-uk-met-far-right-israeli-politician-smotrich/#:~:text=Jewish%20News%20has%20learned%20that,organisation’s%20activities%20in%20this%20country.
65 https://www.timesofisrael.com/top-uk-jewish-body-tells-visiting-far-right-mk-smotrich-to-get-back-on-a-plane/
67 https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/smotrich-appearance-in-new-york-prompts-protest-at-wrong-location/
69 https://www.jpost.com/opinion/article-797176
70 https://www.chabad.org/news/photo_cdo/aid/1437145/jewish/New-Israeli-Chief-of-Staff-Accepted-Honor-at-Miami-Area-Synagogue.htm
71 https://www.chabad.org/news/article_cdo/aid/1873405/jewish/Top-Israeli-General-Hangs-Out-With-Jewish-Students-in-Beijing.htm
72 https://www.chabad.org/news/article_cdo/aid/2388708/jewish/Rabbis-Share-Lessons-of-Kristallnacht-With-Children-in-Berlin.htm
73 https://chabadinfo.com/infocus/picture-of-the-day-609/
74 https://chabadinfo.com/news/defense-minister-receives-daled-minim/
75 https://www.chabad.org/news/article_cdo/aid/4887692/jewish/Israel-Defense-Minister-Benny-Gantzs-Home-Office-Gets-a-Mezuzah.htm
76 https://israelpolicyforum.org/2019/02/11/meet-benny-gantzs-right-wing-roster/
77 https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/2020-01-21/ty-article/.premium/gantz-calls-for-jordan-valley-annexation-hopes-trump-releases-peace-plan-soon/0000017f-db46-df62-a9ff-dfd7901e0000
78 https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/2020-01-21/ty-article/benny-gantz-government-netanyahu-israel-pm/0000017f-dfab-d3ff-a7ff-ffab09df0000
81 https://yasha.substack.com/p/the-weird-world-of-chabad-an-influential-a54
82 Ibid.