Peres in Bnei Brak: I Would Have All Jews Keep Shabbos


peres[Video below.] Today, Israeli President Shimon Peres paid a rare visit to the Ponovezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, where he was greeted by Rav Leizer Kahaneman, the nosi of the Ponovezh Yeshiva. Peres was given a tour of the landmark makom Torah.

Peres paid kudos to those who he described as “Toratam umnatam,” meaning that their Torah learning is their occupation, and they learn Torah just for the sake of learning Torah.

“There is no nation of Israel without the Torah of Israel,” he said. “We are all fighting for the existence of the nation and the existence of its Torah.”

Peres added, “I am proud that the State of Israel has released the students of the yeshiva [from Army service] so that they can be dedicated to Torah learning.”

Peres praised the intellectual skills of lomdei Torah, stating that “among those who study Torah are brilliant minds. Many not-religious people go to exercise in gyms; a yeshiva is a spiritual exercise gym, where you teach your mind to think and deal with challenges. Very many religious people became men of science.”

Rav Kahaneman, in response to the visit, remarked, “It is a natural visit. The President comes to Bnei Brak; of course he wants to see Ponovezh. He”s heard about it and he knows about for 60 years already.”

“It is a nice thing [that Peres visited],” he said.

During his visit to Bnei Brak, Peres also stopped at the home of Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman on Rechov Chazon Ish, where the senior rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Orchos Torah greeted the president. MK Moshe Gafni of United Torah Judaism, who was present at the meeting between Peres and Rav Shteinman, asked the president to try and solve the crisis surrounding the conversion bill and the citizenship bill put forth by MK David Rotem of Yisrael Beiteinu. Peres requested that Rav Steinman try to prevent UTJ’s resignation from the coalition over the bill.

Peres also visited the IROX hi-tech company office, which employs dozens of chareidi women.

At IROX, Peres said, “I would say half in jest that if I really had the ability to do so, I would have all the Jews keep Shabbos and have the opportunity to work only six days a week, as the Torah commands. The non-religious sector must adapt its work-places for chareidim, so that there can be a separation between men and women and time for davening.”

Click below for a Channel 7 video of the visit to Ponovezh:

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{Yair Israel}


  1. Peres had an encounter with the Chofetz Chaim as a little boy and he told him that one day he will be a leader and that he must keep in mind there is nothing as important as the Torah. That’s why his support of yeshiva exceptions to the draft stand in stark contrast to the rest of his policies.