Leviev: Zionism is bankrupt because of 'new American religion'
Tycoon who operates 100 schools slams secular Judaism, says PM betraying the Jewish people.
Businessmen Lev Leviev - who, in addition to being the richest person in Israel, operates a 100-school educational network in Israel, the former Soviet Union and eastern Europe - does not accept secular Jewish culture and believes that Zionism is bankrupt.
In a wide-ranging interview with Haaretz Magazine that will appear on Friday, Leviev also said that a prime minister who is prepared to negotiate over Jerusalem is betraying the Jewish people.
"The moment you ask a child in Israel what Yom Kippur means to him, and he answers the Yom Kippur War, or a fun day on a bicycle - then I don't know if that is Zionism or whatever you call it, but it has certainly become bankrupt," said Leviev. "And for that we are to blame, first and foremost, the moment we try to import the new American religion, and concentrate only on the new things that are being invented in our generation, and shrug off our Judaism."
Leviev also criticized the Israeli policy of investigating sitting prime ministers for suspected improprieties.
"We've forgotten that in order to have a prime minister in the country, we have to let him lead the country," he said. "When he finishes his term, investigate and try him, he's not running away anywhere."
Leviev, who serves as president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS, had kinds words for outgoing Russian president Vladimir Putin and his successor, Dmitry Medvedev. "Just as Putin was a wonderful president for the Jews, I think that Medvedev will be one, too," said Leviev. "I wish the Jews themselves would appreciate the Jews the way Putin knows how to appreciate them."