Mattew Wagner of the Jerusalem Post reports on the split in Satmar between supporters of two of the late Rebbe’s sons and the fight for hundreds of millions of dollars in property and assets:
Ostensibly, the split between the Aharonis and the Zalmanis is ideological. Zalmanis accuse Aharon of straying from the strict anti-Zionist Satmar ideology set down by their founder, Rabbi Yoel Moshe Teitelbaum.
Aharon married the Viznitz Rebbe’s daughter, who learned at the Hebrew-speaking Beit Ya’acov School for girls. Satmar refrain from conversing in Hebrew, the holy language, in protest against Zionism. They strongly oppose Beit Ya’acov schools that teach in Hebrew.
“Aharon is not fit to be the next Satmar rebbe because he broke the Satmar rule against speaking Hebrew in the home,” said Der Yid’s Weiss, who spoke to The Jerusalem Post in fluent Hebrew. “After the death of our rebbe we will continue to wave the anti-Zionist flag. That is one of our main goals.”
Wagner notes something that differentiates Satmar from other haredim in a good way:
Unlike the general haredi community, most Satmar Hassidim work. They have international business connections and are active in the diamond trade, real estate, computers and industry such as nylon production, furniture, brush production, and crystal products.
The late Satmar Rebbe served as the president of Edah Charedis, the Jerusalem-based umbrella group of anti-Zionist haredim. Rabbi Halberstam of Edah Charedis also passed away this week. How will this effect Edah Charedis?
Teitelbaum served as the president of the Edah Haredit, an amalgamation of ultra-orthodox sects both hassidic and Lithuanian, many of whom predate the establishment of the State of Israel. His death may result in a leadership crisis.
“We are in an uncomfortable situation now,” said Shmuel Popenheim, editor of Ha’edah, an Edah Haredit publication. “Until now the rebbe was a unifying force and the Edah did not have to take sides in the conflict between Aharon and Zalman Leib.
“But know it will be difficult to avoid hurting one or the other side’s feelings.” Popenheim, a Hassid of Toldot Aharon, which is loosely related to Satmar [and also, surprisingly, to Chabad], does not expect violence among Satmar Hassidim in Israel as a result of the split. “Most of the action is going to be in America.”
Many were surprised that Teitelbaum’s funeral in New York was conducted peacefully. But it is widely expected that when the seven-day mourning period ends on Sunday and the conflict heats up, there will be violent incidents, as there have been in the past between the camps in New York.
“In Israel,” says Popenheim, “people will stop praying in the same shuls, they will stop sending their children to the same educational institutions they might even break off into separate neighborhoods. But they won’t beat each other up.”
Popenheim may not expect violence. If Vegas were making a line on this, no violence would be a 10,000 to 1 shot. Safe money is on war.