‘Satmar shelling out so voters stay home’
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‘Satmar shelling out so voters stay home’

Anti-Zionist Hasidic sect reportedly out to curb ultra-Orthodox participation in state affairs

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative photo of US currency (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90)
Illustrative photo of US currency (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90)

The ultra-Orthodox Satmar sect of Hasidim said it will give a cash bonus to any yeshiva that doesn’t take part in the January 22 Israeli general elections and refuses to take government grants, the Hebrew daily Maariv reported on Wednesday.

Yeshiva students for the most part vote under the direction of their rabbis, and will generally stay home if instructed to do so by the head of the institution at which they study.

According to the report, Satmar has contacted yeshivas in Israel and propositioned them with the offer.

The leader of Satmar, Rabbi Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, will reportedly hand out the money during a planned visit to Israel in two months’ time, shortly after the elections.

The report said the purpose of the campaign was to encourage the yeshivas to embrace Satmar’s staunch anti-Zionist ideology, which rejects any cooperation with the Jewish state’s official institutions.

The move comes amid a gradual slide toward Haredi involvement with state in the form of increasing government funding for ultra-Orthodox institutions and larger voter turnouts among the community, the report said.

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