Chabad Throws Out Matzas Touched by Netanyahu on Visit to Factory

His hands are impure, wrote Haredi pundits; movement says it was just because the dough got left for too long.

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Making "matza shemura" at Rehovot, April 2, 2014.
Making "matza shemura" at Rehovot, April 2, 2014.Credit: Gil Cohen-Magen

The rift between Benjamin Netanyahu and the ultra-Orthodox community hit a new low on Wednesday after the prime minister visited a matza factory run by Chabad – which threw out the matza prepared during the prime ministerial visit, Walla! reports.

The list of unkosher beefs the Haredim have with the prime minister is long, starting with being left outside the current governing coalition. Having lost their power base in government, the Haredim were unable to block legislation to draft Haredi men, including criminal sanctions against dodgers.

Actually Netanyahu had been invited to the factory, which is operating at full steam to prepare matza ahead of the Passover holiday, Walla! reports. The Chabad movement's policy is to bring Jews together, it explained – to influence "not through boycotts and abuse but peacefully and with love of Israel".

Evidently that isn't a universal philosophy. The Haredi printed press didn't cover Netanyahu's visit to the factory at all and the websites that mentioned it, used the occasion to gore the premier. Kikar Hashabat for instance referred to Netanyahu as "the architect of criminal sanctions."

But perhaps the lowest blow was throwing out the matzas baked during the visit. As explained on Kikar Hashabat, matza is supposed to be made by people who follow the way of Torah.

Chabad however denies any such motivation behind discarding the unleavened bread: any matza that gets left on the table too long gets thrown out, explained spokesman Menachem Brod. Workers who had been rolling out the matza dough abandoned their station to cluster around the prime minister, so their matzas were discarded. Any other explanation is "an ugly attempt to whip up hate and discord, which Chabad rejects with disgust," he stated.

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