Katzav Becomes Eretz Yisroel’s 8th President
Yisroel’s new President is Moshe Katzav of the Likud. In
a stunning election victory on Monday, he defeated One Israel’s
Shimon Peres in the second round of voting.
voting took four hours and two rounds of secret balloting, the
announcement was made that Katzav won in a 63-57 vote of the
120-seat house. Jubilation is the order of the day in the
nationalist, Sephardic, and other sectors of Eretz Yisroel.
Spontaneous celebrations broke out in Yerushalayim, Katzav’s
hometown of Kiryat Malachi, and elsewhere.
of the vote, political observers stated with a modicum of
confidence that Peres would emerge victorious, but with the secret
ballot, it is impossible to know who cast the surprise vote. It is
clear that Katzav owes his election to elements in the left as
well as the right.
first official act of President Moshe Katzav, upon being informed
of his election, was to don a yarmulke and publicly recite
aloud the SheHecheyanu blessing. He later visited the
Western Wall, where he recited a prayer of thanksgiving, verses
from King Solomon’s dedication prayer for the Holy Temple, and
Psalm 122: “Seek the welfare of Yerushalayim, may those who love
it prosper.” He said there that the height of his excitement is
not the announcement of his victory, but his visit to the Wall.
was the first candidate in Israeli history to be fielded by the
Nationalist camp and win the office of presidency.
felt that the move signaled a strengthening of the national camp,
adding the presidential election was an expression of
dissatisfaction of the Land for Peace policies.
win was also a victory over the media, which almost unanimously
predicted that Peres would win.
will be sworn into office on Tuesday, Erev Rosh Chodesh Av.
Katzav was born in 1945 in Iran, from where he immigrated to Eretz
Yisroel at the age of 6. Married with five children, he graduated
Hebrew University with a degree in economics and history. He is
fluent in Hebrew, English, Persian, and Arabic.
He served in the IDF as a Corporal in the Communication
Corps. In his private life he is involved in numerous educational
and social as well as welfare organizations like helping
immigrants from Iran in Eretz Yisroel.
the years he has been a correspondent for Yediot Achronot and
other publications. Katzav
has been a Member of Knesset since 1977, and served as Minister of
Welfare and Labor, Transportation, and Tourism. His brother Lior
serves as Mayor of Kiryat Malachi, a position which the new
President once held himself.
WORDS OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE TO MR. MOSHE KATZAV:“buckling
under pressure brings more pressure.”
Yud Sh’vat, 5752 - January 15, 1992, Mr. Moshe Katzav, then the
Transportation Minister of Eretz Yisroel under the Shamir
administration, met with the Rebbe during distribution of dollars
for charity. This
meeting occurred at the time when the forerunner of the Oslo
accords, the Madrid Talks, were underway.
Below is a record of that discussion as noted from the
audible parts of the video tape and as recalled by those who were
present. (This transcript is available on line at www.truepeace.org.)
the Transportation Minister, Moshe Katzav, was introduced to the
Rebbe, the Rebbe shook his hand and continued to hold it for the
entire duration of the conversation and blessed him as follows:
Rebbe: “Within the realm of your position, you should merit
to solidify the bond between the Nation of Eretz Yisroel, the
Torah of Eretz Yisroel, and G-d, so that these three should never
Rebbe then continued addressing Mr. Katzav: “I recently heard a
strange and frightening rumor regarding talks and impending
decisions by the Israeli government, concerning surrendering parts
of the Land of Israel. They are currently discussing a five-year
plan [Madrid talks] which they describe as ‘autonomy.’
truth, however, the semantics are meaningless, and it makes no
difference what they call the issue. The plain truth is that these
talks and affairs fall under the explicitly stated Torah
prohibition of ‘not ingratiating yourselves to the nations,’
which includes the prohibition of ceding any part of the Land of
Israel to the nations of the world.
talks will eventually lead to the actual surrender of parts of the
Land of Israel. Thus, the very act of holding such talks
constitutes a rejection of G-d and His Torah, of the Land of
Israel and the holiness of the Land of Israel. Discussions of
autonomy plans are just a prelude to surrendering parts of the
Land of Israel; and not just small territories, rather large
expansive parts such as Judea, Samaria, Gaza, Hebron, and
Jerusalem, etc. This involves life-and-death issues (pikuach
is irrelevant how the Jews interpret it [the ‘autonomy’
proposal]. What matters is how the gentiles understand it. They
interpret the plan as one eventually leading to the surrender of
parts of the Land of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian
understand Arabic. So go and ask the Arabs who live there what
their intention is in discussing a five-year autonomy plan. You
will see that they will tell you that their intention is that they
will actually be given parts of the Land of Israel for the purpose
of establishing a Palestinian state. It automatically follows that
it is totally irrelevant how the Jews interpret it [to
themselves], because what matters is how the gentiles view the
very act of discussing autonomy plans is a desecration of G-d’s
Name and of holiness. Whereas the fact that there are individual
Jews in the Land of Israel who do not keep Torah and mitzvos relates
specifically to desecrating their personal lives. But here, we are
discussing a situation in which the government of Eretz Yisroel
will publicly declare war against G-d and His Torah.
to the explanation [of the Likud] that the only matter under
discussion is limited self-rule, under which the Arabs will be in
charge of their own education and agriculture etc., but not
foreign affairs and security, and that this is only a trial period
... these are all matters of diplomacy.
shall not argue with you on this, as it seems that you understand
more about diplomacy than I. But here we are not discussing
diplomacy, but the surrender of parts of the Land of Israel. The
very fact that negotiation on this is taking place is a
desecration of G-d’s Name, and in opposition to G-d and His
Torah. It then makes absolutely no difference what kind of
diplomatic icing the Jews put on top of it.
reason given for these talks is that there is a mass immigration
from Russia, and Eretz Yisroel, therefore, needs America’s loan
guarantees, etc., and that, therefore, we must take into account
what the American government will say.
consideration is the first step to giving away land. The proof of
this is, that the Likud themselves state that the reason they are
doing all this is the pressure from the nations. So, afterwards,
when there is even more pressure, they will capitulate further,
have seen this in the past: buckling under pressure brings more
Moshe Katzav then remarked that in the previous year President
Bush had sent a letter opposing a Palestinian state, but a year
later Bush simply wrote that he was not in favor of a Palestinian
state, so we see here a [positive] change in his stance.
we see in which direction the change is heading. It is
unfathomable that a Jew who believes in G-d and His Torah could be
a party to such actions, or could add his signature to such an
arrangement. Likewise, it is preferable that the [Shamir]
government should fall and there should not be a Jewish
government, since the only reason they are even discussing these
plans is because of pressure from the nations (as they themselves
admit). If so, it would be preferable that they establish, G-d
forbid, a non-Jewish government in the Land of Israel, which will
decide what to do with the Land of Israel. At least then there
will not be Jews signing such agreements!
certainly know Mr. Menachem Begin, who at the outset did not agree
with the Camp David ideas, and was strongly opposed to them. But
eventually he began to make compromises, and from what we hear
today, he has great remorse over having given up a part of the
Land of Israel.
people who do not believe in G-d been responsible for this, we
could understand this. But that the signature for abandoning parts
of the Land of Israel should be from Jews who believe in G-d! This
is a desecration of His Name. Shamir believes in G-d and in the
holiness of the Land of Israel. It is, therefore, completely
mind-boggling that he should be the one to agree to negotiate on a
plan whose eventual outcome is the surrendering of parts of the
Land of Israel.
of the Land of Israel comes from G-d alone. If they acted
accordingly and stood firmly as the hour dictates, there would not
be any reason to worry about the safety of the Land of Israel.
Meanwhile they only speak of a five-year interim period, because
they are afraid to openly state that they want to give up parts of
the Land of Israel. But their true intentions are clear. According
to my estimation, Shamir himself knows this - and better than I.
has many merits in connection with the Land of Israel, going back
to the time of the Irgun, when the gentiles had control over the
Land of Israel. Shamir fought against this, but now it is he who
speaks of giving away parts of the Land of Israel! In my opinion,
what practically must be done now is for Shamir to immediately
halt the decision and negotiations on autonomy.
always fought for a Shamir government, and I did everything within
my power to establish a government with Shamir as its head.
However, if they continue in this direction of negotiations, then
I Menachem Mendel will be the first to fight with all of my
forcefulness and might against Shamir, so that his government will
fall. Until today, only Mr. Shimon Peres has stood against
Shamir’s government. But if Shamir continues in this direction
negotiating about autonomy, then I too will stand against the
government of Shamir.
Shamir is unable to withstand the pressure of the goyim,
let him publicly declare that he cannot withstand the pressure,
and is, therefore, unable to continue as Prime Minister. As I have
said many times in the past, a shamir (in the Bible) is a
worm which cuts through hard stone. So let Shamir release a shamir
into the decision to speak about these matters of giving up parts
of the Land of Israel. Then this decision, and all thought of such
matters, will be cut of and totally nullified, ceasing to
Moshe Katzav then said:
Rebbe shlita is the one who established the present
government, and we would like the continued blessing of the Rebbe
for this government, as it will add holiness to the government.”
Rebbe replied: “When Shamir will add holiness to the Land of
Israel, then he will gain the strength to stand against all the
will surely be strong.”
now he has been strong, and we must, therefore, see to it that
they immediately cease all talk about autonomy. You will surely
relate all this to Mr. Shamir, and not be angry with me for
placing such an unpleasant task upon you. But relay this with all
of the forcefulness with which I have said it to you. I apologize
for speaking such harsh words. In truth, this matter needs to be
discussed at greater length, but there is no time now to go into
4,000 Jews and non-Jews were waiting in line in the cold for a
precious moment with the Rebbe).
there be only good news to relate, and may they only discuss the
holiness of the Land of Israel and Am Yisroel.
there be good news.”
Rebbe’s brachos are especially auspicious today on the
occassion of the inauguration of Mr. Moshe Katzav as the new
President of Eretz Yisroel. It is our fervent hope that Mr. Katzav will remember the
Rebbe’s words and take them to heart.