Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar has harsh words for Israeli society, particularly the ultra-Orthodox community, in regards to its treatment of Russian Jews who immigrated to Israel. In an interview to the European rabbinical publication ‘Hanaaseh Vehanishma’ ahead of Rosh Hashana, Rabbi Lazar was asked whether he encouraged immigration from Russia to Israel. "The grim reality is that many of the Jews who came to Israel have lost their grip on faith. Sadly, the haredi community did not embrace them," he replied. Lazar went on to say that "some action is being taken regarding this matter, but barely. This is why we don’t encourage immigration to Israel. Only when a Jew feels that he is strong enough and ready, only then do we give our blessing for him to immigrate."
Rabbi Lazar with Russian President Medvedev (Photo: The Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS)