Politics is always a dirty game, but this time it turned into an outright threat on Chabad.
According to Nahum Barnea of Yediot Aharonot, candidate for Prime Minister Yair Lapid made a phone call to one of the leaders of Chabad-Lubavitch in Israel to speak with him about the upcoming elections.
Barnea reported that Lapid threatened the Chabad Rabbi, saying “If you support Smotrich and Ben Gvir’s party, I will persecute you.”
The threat targeted chabad very personally, as Lapid was quoted as saying that “It will be the end of Hanukkah menorahs on every corner during Hanukkah, and Chabad houses around the entire world. It will be the end of your story on loving every Jew.”
In Israel, Chabad is considered a swing voting block, and is courted by both sides during each election.
In response to Barnea’s report, Lapid clarified that “I am not persecuting, nor will I persecute, anyone – and certainly not my good friends from the Chabad movement.”
Other politicians quickly jumped on the bandwagon, with Naftali Bennet saing “It’s embarrassing, I am eternally grateful to Chabad. Thanks to Chabad of Montreal, my father, of blessed memory, and my mother and all of us became connected to Judaism.”