The Gedolim’s View On Voting In the Israeli Elections


chazon-ishBy Nechemia Havtolsky

It is important, especially in light of the confusing reports and unclear messages one encounters in some segments of the chareidi media and elsewhere, for frum Yidden to have the Torah view on every matter, and, at this time, on voting in the upcoming Israeli elections.

The gedolei Torah over the years, from the Chazon Ish, to Maran Rav Elazar Shach, to the gedolim of today, have stated unequivocally that it is a mitzvah to vote.

I take the liberty of sharing a remarkable story related by Rabbi Shmuel Bloom in a column published last week in Yated Ne’eman USA.

Many years ago, Rabbi Shimon Soroka, a leader of Zeirei Agudath Israel in Israel and a vice mayor of Bnei Brak, came to Baltimore to solicit funds for the upcoming Israeli elections. As a yeshiva bochur who was the head of Pirchei Agudas Yisroel of Baltimore, I was zocheh to accompany him on his visits in Baltimore. He related to me the story of a Bnei Brak resident, who took it as a given that he shouldn’t vote. He did, however, pose the question to the Chazon Ish. The Chazon Ish answered him very firmly that, in fact, he must vote.

On Election Day, the Chazon Ish met this same Jew in the street. “Did you vote yet?” inquired the Chazon Ish.

“No,” was the response.

“Why not?” persisted the Chazon Ish.

“I don’t have the three Israeli pounds to pay the poll tax,” was the answer.

The Chazon Ish would not give up. “Do you own a pair of tefillin?” he continued.

“Of course!” answered the Jew.

“Well, go and sell your pair of tefillin and use the funds to pay the poll tax so that you can go and vote,” said the Chazon Ish.

The Chazon Ish later explained to Rabbi Soroka that wearing tefillin is a mitzvah, but voting in the election is also a mitzvah.

“I’m not worried that this Jew will not put be putting on tefillin,”explained the Chazon Ish. “If need be, he’ll borrow a pair. I am afraid that he won’t perform this other mitzvah – voting in the election.”

Earlier today, I read a report here on, quoting Maran Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman as stating the following in Yerushalayim this past Thursday night:

Morai verabbosai, everyone knows that all of the mitzvos are so holy that we cannot describe them or can we measure their greatness. Even so, there is the sin of chillul Hashem and there is the mitzvah ofkiddush HaShem. Regarding chillul Hashem, Rabbeinu Yonah says that it is worse than avodah zara, serving idols in private. That is why if someone takes an false oath in bais din, which is a chillul Hashem, it is worse than avodah zara, serving idols. And, in all probability, the good miiddah is more than the bad middah. And the good middah is making a kiddush Hashem.

“A kiddush Hashem is if Klal Yisroel says: We want that Klal Yisroel, that the entire Eretz Yisroel, will act according tokedushah, according to the Torah. This is a kiddush Hashem. And each person, by saying this, if he votes, is saying, “I want that there to be a kiddush Hashem, that the Name of Heaven should be sanctified, that the entire Klal Yisroel should act according to the Torah.”

“This opportunity does not present itself every day. Right now, this is something that the entire world can know. A person can say, “I want a kiddush Hashem. I want the Name of G-d to be sanctified.” And this is the greatest opportunity. May Hashem help that we shall merit that there be a true kiddush Hashem, and we shall merit that the entire Klal Yisroel should act according to the Torah, until we merit the true redemption speedily in our days. Amein selah.”

Despite the portrayals and mumble jumble that are thrown at us in various sources, let it be known and reiterated that the prevailing view of the leading gedolim of previous generations and our time has been and is that it is incumbent upon Torah Jews to participate in Israeli elections.

{Nechemia Newscenter}


  1. Finally we have someone saying it as it is.
    Unfortunately, we have many people who are spreading lies.
    Thank you to this author

  2. What is abhorrent are the number of people who seem to think that they – and only they – are entitled to decide the result of the forthcoming elections.

    In any other democracy this would amount to the very serious criminal offense of VOTE RIGGING.

  3. “it is incumbent upon Torah Jews to participate in Israeli elections”

    Not exactly.

    Most Torah Jews are not Israeli citizens, so this psak does not apply to them.

    Furthermore, whole this psak is applicable to those Torah Jews who are Israeli citizens who follow any of the gedolim listed in the article, it cannot apply to those Torah Jews who are Israeli citizens who follow other gedolim

  4. Every Da’as Toroh unequivocally has exhorted us to vote in Israeli elections, and failure to do so is tantamount to tactical voting for non religious parties.

  5. This is a 1 sided article!! The satmer rav disagreed with them on this and still respected. It’s not fear to put it out there the way it was written!

  6. “there is more than one view among the various Gedolim – Eilu v’eilu”
    no you are in correct this is one of those issues were all the gedolim agree

    this is the measuring stick

  7. His opinion on voting is far from clear. The compilers of Pe’er Hador tried to prove that he favored voting based on three or four stories told by people close to him. Subsequent investigation has shown that in some of these stories, the issue was actually the municipal elections for Bnei Brak under the British Mandate. In others, he was not asked whether to vote, but only whom to vote for. Furthermore, Rabbi Elyakim Schlessinger relates that when the state held its first elections and the Beis Din of the Edah Charedis in Jerusalem issued their ruling forbidding Jews to vote, and the Agudists used the Chazon Ish’s name to fight a propaganda campaign against the Edah, the Chazon Ish sent him to Rabbi Pinchas Epstein, rav of the Edah, to give him encouragement in standing by his negative ruling. Rabbi Shmuel Chortkov relates that he asked the Chazon Ish if he should vote, and the Chazon Ish said no. (ibid. pp. 159-161)

    Furthermore, all versions agree that the Chazon Ish himself did not vote, for he even refused to register himself as an Israeli citizen or take out an identity card. (ibid. p. 163) This was attested to by Rabbi Refoel Halperin, Rabbi Moshe Scheinfeld, and Rabbi Kalman Cahana.

    When the Satmar Rebbe visited Bnei Brak in the summer of 1952, the Chazon Ish greeted the Rebbe with both hands, a gesture no one had ever seen him do for anyone else. During their conversation, the Rebbe asked the Chazon Ish why he did not found a Yiddish-speaking cheder. The Chazon Ish replied, “You are a man whose Master helps him, so you should be the one to do it.”

    With the encouragement of the Chazon Ish, the Satmar Rebbe established the only Yiddish-speaking Talmud Torah in Bnei Brak, as well as a yeshiva and beis medrash. The Chazon Ish told his talmidim to send their children to the new cheder, known as Tashbar Chazon Ish.

    Later, after the passing of the Chazon Ish, as enrollment in Tashbar increased, some of the parents asked Tashbar to hire a rebbe who would teach with the Lithuanian pronunciation. The Rebbe recommended that the Lithuanian parents open a separate branch of the cheder. Following his advice, they opened the Lithuanian branch in the Chazon Ish’s house. The Rebbe donated a large sum of money to start them out, and over the years he continued to support it. To this day, the Tashbar cheder is supported by the Satmar community. (Tiferes Yoel, v. 2 p. 113)

    The Rebbe related that he spoke with the Chazon Ish about the question of yeshivas and chinuch institutions accepting money from the Zionist government. The Chazon Ish said, “There is no heter for this.” When the Rebbe pointed out that there were some rabbis who took money, the Chazon Ish replied, “They are not rabbanim; they just daven Mincha and Maariv.” (Tiferes Yoel v. 1 p. 56; v. 3 p. 102)

  8. #7 #8 the other “sides” carry zero burden and couldn’t care a hoot about the olam hayeshivos in EY so their position is irrelevant.

    How can they have a say in issues that only Rav Shteinam, Rav Chaim and other gedolim and Admorim in EY are seeing day day out?

  9. Thousands of people gathered at Kikar Shabbos to hear the Satmar Rebbe, R’ Zalman Leib, say that voting is assur. When discussing this issue, I’d appreciate the honesty of acknowledging other opinions.

  10. From the very few REAL talmidim of the Chazon Ish ZT’L we know that his opinion on this issue was very delicate and NOT AT ALL as you put it with a nice story. Maybe the story is true but his true talmidim NEVER affirmed such an opinion from him.

  11. #10,

    I didn’t finish reading your whole piece. As soon as I saw this lie, I stopped.

    “When the Satmar Rebbe visited Bnei Brak in the summer of 1952, the Chazon Ish greeted the Rebbe with both hands, a gesture no one had ever seen him do for anyone else. During their conversation, the Rebbe asked the Chazon Ish why he did not found a Yiddish-speaking cheder. The Chazon Ish replied, “You are a man whose Master helps him, so you should be the one to do it.”’

    The Chazon Ish specifically wanted the chadorim to be in HEBREW. Yes. (In consideration of Sefardim and other considerations).

    Rav Shmuel Wosner of Bnei Brak was the only present when the Satmer Rebbe spoke with thge Chazon Ish. Rav Wosner PUBLICLY stated that the Chazon Ish had the last word,, as follows:

    “Men darf boien merr Yeshivos, Mer Torah. Me’at min ha’or docheh harbeh min hachoshech”. – We must build more Yeshivos and more Torah [learning]. A little light subdues much darkness.

    Please be a little honest.

  12. The Vast Majority of Gedolim: Rav Aharon Kotler, Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Yaakov Kamentsky, The Steipler, The Chazon Ish, The Gerrer Rebbes, The Belzer Rebbes, The Vizhnitzer Rebbes,Rav Shach, The Tchebiner, Rav Chaim Shmuelevit Ztzls….HELD IT IS MITZVAH TO VOTE.