PM’s aides visit Chabad rabbi’s grave

Members of Israeli delegation accompanying Netanyahu to UN say a prayer at Lubavitcher Rebbe’s gravesite in New York
Kobi Nahshoni

Senior members of the Israeli delegation to the United Nations General Assembly held a special prayer Saturday night on the grave of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, at the Montefiore Cemetery in Queens, New York.

 On Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned the Rebbe as he presented the Israeli stand against the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN General Assembly.

  The delegation members – Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor, Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser, Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Gil Shefer, Chief of Staff Natan Eshel and head of the foreign minister’s staff, Sharon Shalom – arrived at the rabbi’s gravesite on the first night of Selichot, according to Ashkenazi custom.

 They said a prayer and recited Pslams and Selichot for the success of the Israeli battle, as well as personal issues.

 מימין: נתן אשל, צבי האוזר, גיל שפר, רון פרושאור, שרון שלום (צילום: שטורעם.נט)

From the right: Natan Eshel, Zvi Hauser, Gil Shefer, Ron Prosor and Sharon Shalom (Photo:

 Beforehand, upon entering the gravesite, they lit memorial candles, and later visited the nearby Chabad House and watched video segments of the Rebbe. The rabbi’s followers said they „appeared to be extremely moved by the occasion.”

שלום, פרושאור, שפר - בתפילה (צילום: שטורעם.נט)

Shalom, Prosor and Shefer praying (Photo:

 Netanyahu said in his General Assembly address, „Here in the UN, automatic majorities can decide anything. They can decide that the sun sets in the west or rises in the west. I think the first has already been pre-ordained. But they can also decide – they have decided that the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Judaism’s holiest place, is occupied Palestinian territory.

 „And yet even here in the General Assembly, the truth can sometimes break through. In 1984 when I was appointed Israel‘s ambassador to the United Nations, I visited the great rabbi of Lubavitch. He said to me — and ladies and gentlemen, I don’t want any of you to be offended because from personal experience of serving here, I know there are many honorable men and women, many capable and decent people serving their nations here.

 „But here’s what the Rebbe said to me. He said to me, ‘You’ll be serving in a house of many lies.’ And then he said, ‘Remember that even in the darkest place, the light of a single candle can be seen far and wide.’

 „Today I hope that the light of truth will shine, if only for a few minutes, in a hall that for too long has been a place of darkness for my country.”

In recent years, Netanyahu has been using many occasions – mostly haredi events, but also his UN addresses – to discuss his meetings with the Rebbe when he served as Israel’s ambassador at the UN.

 The prime minister was the guest of honor at a special conference for Chabad emissaries to former USSR countries, which was held several weeks ago in Tel Aviv. In honor of the event, the organizers produced a special film documenting Netanyahu’s relationship with the rabbi.