After Haredi boycott, bread company director apologizes over Bnei Brak rally attendance

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

File: Public Security Minister Omer Barlev speaks during a conference in Herzliya, October 2, 2022 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
File: Public Security Minister Omer Barlev speaks during a conference in Herzliya, October 2, 2022 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Following a month-long consumer boycott by some Haredi Jews of Angel Bakeries, the chairman of the firm’s board apologizes for the harm he caused by attending a rally in Bnei Brak in favor of national service by Haredim.

Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, head of the Ponevezh Yeshiva, seen at his home after lighting the Hanukkah candles on the fourth night of Hanukkah, in Bnei Brak, December 5, 2018. (Aharon Krohn/Flash90)

Former public security minister Omer Barlev, who this year began serving as the top executive for the popular bread maker, pays a condolence shiva visit to the relatives of Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, the late leader of the Lithuanian stream of Ashkenazi Haredi Jews. Edelstein, a top decision-maker for the United Torah Judaism party, died Tuesday at the age of 100.

In his letter of apology, which he leaves with his hosts, Barlev notes that reports in the media that the rally was held outside the rabbi’s home are wrong, and that he meant to send a general message as a private citizen and not to “defy” the rabbi. In reality, the rally happened outside the Ponevezh Yeshiva, which Edelstein had headed since 2000.

Barlev writes that “if I had been made aware of the situation we found ourselves in, and the harm caused, I surely would have refrained from this action.”

“For this I am sorry and apologize sincerely,” he writes, without specifying whether he is apologizing for attending the rally, or just for the unintentional harm this caused.

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