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In a Sunday July 1, 2012 photo,  Rabbi Yaakov Israel Ifargan, right, known as the 'X-Ray' rabbi for the belief he has the ability to diagnose patients by eyesight only, sits next to businessman Nochi Dankner, left, at the annual gathering of the rabbi's followers and supporters in the town of Netivot, southern Israel. Over the past few decades, Ifargan and dozens of other rabbis have carefully positioned themselves at the fulcrum of Israeli power and influence. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Every Shekel Brings True Peace

In a Sunday July 1, 2012 photo, Rabbi Yaakov Israel Ifargan, right, known as the ‘X-Ray’ rabbi for the belief he has the ability to diagnose patients by eyesight only, sits next to businessman Nochi Dankner, left, at the annual gathering of the rabbi’s followers and supporters in the town of Netivot, southern Israel. Over the past few decades, Ifargan and dozens of other rabbis have carefully positioned themselves at the fulcrum of Israeli power and influence. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

A recent Press report describes the wealthy aristocracy of rabbis that has appeared in Israel over the past few decades, who have “have carefully positioned themselves at the fulcrum of Israeli power and influence.” Their followers are some of Israel’s richest businessmen. These moguls have helped the new rabbinic “aristocracy” to turn their shekels into multi-million-dollar empires.

The rabbis, the article contends, “have become shrewd businessmen themselves,” managing large investments in stocks and real estate at home and abroad — while managing to keep their holdings safe from Israeli tax collectors.

The rabbis achieved symbolic admission to the world of business by the recent inclusion of 13 of the richest rabbis in the list of the richest published Israeli edition of Forbes magazine.

The g-dly business works like this: the rabbis “set up public office hours in their homes to receive Israelis on all rungs of the social ladder, as long as they come with cash. In exchange, adherents receive amulets and little pieces of paper containing the rabbi’s personalized blessing. The most successful rabbis have founded charitable institutions and small religious seminaries, which act as conduits for the incoming cash flow.”An expert on Orthodox Judaism and professor emeritus at Bar Ilan University, Menachem Friedman, says the practice has a tradition:

Religious Jewish businessmen since the 19th century have solicited rabbis’ blessings for cash to ensure their success — though today the sums have reached unprecedented amounts.

Friedman also explains the comfort derived by the faithfully rich (or is it richly faithful) from the rabbinical intercession:

If the market is dangerous and shaky, the millionaires who benefit from that market have less confidence. They need these rabbis to give them that security.

A series of exposes appeared in Israeli newspapers in the 1990s accusing a rabbi of cheating his followers into believing he had no money in the bank, and violently threatening some to pay up.

A national fraud squad investigation, discovered $125 million in his personal account. The rabbi reached a settlement with Israel’s tax authorities to pay a fraction of what he owed in taxes.
“These rabbis are charlatans, swindlers and cheaters. They have no real knowledge. And people eat it up,” said reporter Bar-Moha, who heads Tel Aviv’s journalists’ association.
An Israeli tax official, speaking anonymously because of the issue’s sensitivity, said in the past two years tax authorities have approached some 20 religious figures, requesting earnings reports. Some rabbis have been investigated for tax fraud. No convictions are known, but some have reportedly reached settlements with Israeli tax authorities.
Reached for comment, advisers of some of the rabbis profiled by Forbes either would not comment on the income estimates, or said they were wrong but would not provide other figures.”

Every single shekel brings about true peace,

announced the rabbi Rabbi Yaacov Israel Ifargan’s half-brother, a rabbi himself, at a recent gathering.
In the women’s section, behind a laced divider, sat “The Arbitrator,” Ifargan’s millionaire sister Bruria Zvuluni, a trusted spiritual counsellor who claims to have mediated feuds between Israeli crime kingpins. Though she is not a rabbi, she made it to the bottom of Forbes’ list.”


Copyright  © deLiberation 2012

7 Responses to Every Shekel Brings True Peace

  1. who_me July 15, 2012 at 12:24 am #

    cool, religious racketeers mixed with organised crime and big business. quite a special people.

  2. Ariadna Theokopoulos July 15, 2012 at 3:27 am #

    It cannot be true that EVERY shekel brings “true peace”–if it were, then each of them would be completely at peace owning ONE shekel.
    It could be that their desire for “true peace” is infinite

  3. etominusipi July 15, 2012 at 4:30 am #

    it may help to correct the obvious bias in Ariadna’s article if i may be allowed to re count a recent personal experience. i hope this is not too far off topic, but as the wise janitor at the Temple of the Great Dragon was wont to say, even a lost rabbit needs a hole to sleep in…

    in a charity shop on Bingley Main Street last week i saw a copy of a slim volume i had heard of long ago but never actually encountered in my trawlings through libraries in the many business colleges i lectured in during my time in Kuala Lumpur. the one reference i found to it on the internet now generates an error 404. the book was published in 1913, and its title page bore the inscription (in gilt letters):

    – how they acquired and maintain their wealth

    the author was cited as Archibald McGoldsteiner Ph.D., whom i have otherwise failed to find any trace of.

    the entries were short, but informative, at least to one so ignorant of the subject as myself. after a few minutes perusal i decided to purchase the odd little tome, as a curio whose resale might furnish me with the price of a consoling bottle of whiskey the next time the wolves of austerity howl too close to the makeshift doors of my inadequate nuclear bunker.

    “Sorry, dearie, that one’s not for sale!” said a well-dressed elderly lady behind the counter. her smile seemed faintly derisory. “In fact, it shouldn’t even have been out on the shelves!” she snatched the book from me, rather rudely, i thought.

    when i began to protest, she made a rapid hand gesture and two heavily armed guards in riot gear appeared through a concealed doorway and escorted me rather roughly off the premisses. their leather bullet-proof flak-jackets bore a peculiar geometrical emblem, and the words CHARITY POLICE emblazened in radio-active paint. their faces were invisible behind masks. perhaps they were automata. in any case, they did not seem interested in participating in any kind of philosophical dialogue with me.

    fortunately, by a strange quirk of my asperger’s condition, i can sometimes retain a picture of the last page of a book i see before closing it.

    this occurred in the present case. i thought i would transcribe it here, as others may now never get a chance to view the original. i cannot guarantee complete acuracy but this rendering will, i hope, help to discount the ludicrous and anti-semitic view that ‘self-styled’ Jews have an influence on commerce out of all proportion to their numbers. many of the great business dynasties are of purely gentile stock, like the McKhazar family here, who have a clan tartan to prove their authentic Scotchness, and a legally validated clan history going back several thousand years.

    McKhazar – a Victorian-Scots dynasty, originally founded on profits from the manufacture of hair oil. now active on five continents (A.,A.,A.,A.,E.). est wealth (1912) £1.8 bln.

    in 1865 Solomon (Sol) McKhazar (later Lord Ravenscraig), a minor civil servant in the Department of Pensions and Industrial Waste, had a bright idea. he learned from perusal of a work by the explorer Sir Richard Burton (translator of The 1001 Nights الف ليلة واحدة ) that the scent from the oil of the ylang-ylang may in some circumstances evoke a mood of sensuous eroticism in susceptible members of the fair sex. one night in a dream the ambitious young McKhazar saw commercial possibilities in weaponising the scent for the use of bright young sparks in their quest for the thrill of those exotic embraces forbidden in principle by the stern moral code of the times, but to a certain extent sanctioned by means of a generally tolerated hypocrisy.

    through the agency of his cousin, the Tory politician Benjamin Disraeli, McKhazar was put in touch with the Begelstein chemical empire in Germany, who agreed to capitalise and oversee his production facilities. the new seductive hair-oil outsold Solomon McKhazar’s most optimistic expectations. as his capital grew he wisely began to divert some of it into other branches of enterprise….

    the family name was changed in 1904 by Lord Ravenscraig’s son Sir Reuben Macassar MP lest anti-Scots prejudice should affect sales abroad.

    this was a judicious move.

    after (totally unfounded) accusations of profiteering and exploitation of labourers, there had been anti-McKhazar riots in several cities throughout France and Germany. in England the firm’s products were briefly boycotted and effigies of King McRobert the Bruceberg were burned outside the Scots Ambassadors residence in Berkeley Square, London. certain people, those of incorrigibly fascist tendencies, went so far as to put a small patch of tartan cloth on their chairs claiming that it protected the furniture from sticky deposits left by the ubiquitous oil, but all reputable historians (taking into account the vast number of published scientific studies which have utterly negated the oily residue claim) assert that, without the shadow of doubt, it was a symbolic anti-Scots gesture and one of such obnoxious nature that it should have been made a criminal offence and the offending cloths burned by the public hangman. sociologist Hans LochKopf has written:

    “special local committees should have paid weekly visits to the houses of those with known anti-Scots disorder in their medical records or family history, to ensure that the obscene anti-McKhazar cloths were not on display.”

    this marks the end of the page retained in my eidetic memory. however the Macassar family history is a useful exanple to showcase for the re-education of those who associate themselves with the vile and tendentious claim that all large business fortunes are inevitably associated with Jews aspiring towards a retributive economic dominance of their hosts.

    I would like to thank Sir Hector Macassar and his delightful wife Lady Marylin for the unfailing hospitality and support during the research for this article. Sir Hector kindly made available to me his copious private collection of primary source material, which offers afascinating glimpse into the most intimate details of the private lives of many leading Britisg politicians. such material is invaluable to the historian who wishes to scratch beneath the smooth surface of the official narrative, which, alas, even in England will often be found to have been drawn from wells polluted by the vile and baseless assertions of anti-semites, who retain a censorious stranglehold on all the major academic institutions in not-so-liberal Britain.

    • who_me July 15, 2012 at 4:44 am #

      what a rude woman to do that….obviously a tease.

  4. fool me once... July 15, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Hi everyone. For the sake of speed in typing I’m gonna write what I’ve gotta say in my normal talk, so forgive the grammar, cheers.
    Riding on etominusipi’s wave of book reviewing I’d like to mention again the book that I referred to in Roy’s article. It’s called “The Jews in Business” first published in 1970 by Stephen Aris. A friend saw it in a second hand shop and give it to me. It deals with the jews in britain. Here’s the words written on the inside cover;
    “This book, by a leading financial journalist, tells both halves of the story of the Jews in business. The author interviewed some one hundred leading Jewish businessmen and made first-hand researches into conditions in the East End ghetto at the turn of the century. Aspects of his story include the role of the “family business”, antagonisms between the Jewish establishment and the newly rich, reactions to Zionism, and the world of Jewish charity. All shed light on the central mystique – why are Jews successful businessmen? ”
    I found it well interesting and for me it felt like you was gettin’ a glimpse into the world of the jews and how they had come to build up the JP. The book backs up many of the things said here at deLib. There are some b/w photo’s and prints which helps with picturing the text. Anyway some more extracts;
    Siegmund George Warburg knighted in 1966
    “…Warburg has become a banker but was born an aristocrat, a member of one of the most distinguished families. In common with many other German refugees who escaped from Hitler, and in contrast to the poor ghetto Jews of Russia and Poland who fled from Tsarist persecution some fifty years before Hitler’s pogrom began, the Warburgs played a distinguished part in German society, moving in the highest circles. The family first appeared in Germany from Italy some time in the seventeenth century and by the 1920s
    the Hamburg bank of M.M. Warburg, founded in 1798, was among the most powerful and influential in Germany, close to such industrial concerns as Siemens and advising the Government itself. The young Siegmund, although still a trainee at the bank, was on first name terms with many of Germany’s leading politicians, among them Baron von Neurath, Germany’s foreign minister…”
    “How can you be a good Jew”, asks Sir Isaac Wolfson of the Great Universal Stores or Lord Sieff of Marks and Spencer, “if you are not prepared wholeheartedly to identify and support Israel?” The outward manifestation of this change, which has been going on almost continuously since Chaim Weizmann first set foot in Manchester in 1904″
    “Jacob (Rothschild) said “No journalist ever seems to be interested in what we’re doing in Europe.” He then proceeded to reel off a whole list of massive Eurobond loans which the bank had floated for such international companies as Shell (the biggest ever), Philips, Rio Tinto, a company with traditional Rothschild connections, A.K.U., the Dutch chemical and fibres firm, and de Beers – not to mention the financing together with Warburgs, of the Trans-alpine pipeline.”
    @AT, you mentioned you was going on “vacation” and I thought you’d enjoy, as others would, reading this book as it reads like a serious informative comic, so, easy reading for in the hammock. 😉

    • who_me July 15, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

      that sounds like a book worth reading, fmo. thanks for the review. 🙂

  5. Ariadna Theokopoulos July 15, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    Thank you. I’ll try to get it.