Meet Yariv Levin MK

April 7, 2014 by Henry Benjamin
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Yariv Levin is a Likud Member of the Knesset belonging to the Yisrael Beitenu faction. He spoke to Betar in Sydney and Melbourne.  J-Wire spoke to him.

Levin , the Chairman of the Coalition,  attended the ZFA Biennial  in Melbourne and spoke to Betar groups in both Melbourne and Sydney.

 

Betarim

Betarim

 

JW: It appears from your background that you have always been involved in politics. Is this the case?

YL:  I was born into a life in politics…My grandparents came to Israel from South Africa with my grandfather carrying a letter written by Jabotinsky for Pinhas Rutenberg who ran the Israeli electricity company urging him to find my grandfather a job. He worked there all is his life attaining the role of legal advisor to the organisation. My mother’s uncle was Eliyahu Lankin who was a commander on the Altalena, the vessel which was at the centre of a violent confrontation between Begin’s Irgun and the newly-formed IDF.   I first met Menachem Begin when I was eight days old. He was my sandek at my brit milah. In 1991, I joined the Likud in 1991 and was elected to the Knesset in 2009 and am now in my second time.

JW: Do you travel  a lot internationally?

Yariv Levin

Yariv Levin

YL:  Not a lot. It’s almost impossible for me to go when the Knesset is in session especially as I currently have duties as the current chairman of the Coalition and chairman of the Likud Yisrael Beitenu faction. I also have to consider my wife and three children. I spend so much time at work so leaving them to travel would be unfair.  So I only travel when there is something special to attend but I could not refuse an invitation from the Australian Friends of Betar and the Likud.”

JW: Is Betar still significant in your life?

YL:   First of all, the ideology and spirit of Betar and Jabotinsky  is not just part of my life. It has offered me guidance in the way I act not only in my political life but also personally. What Jabotinsky said in the past was true then and is true now and will probably be true in the future. It’s more than guidance…it’s a way of life through which we can achieve a lot. I feel have the responsibility and the duty to follow the path of those who helped establish the State of Israel.

JW:   Do you have a message for Jews in the Diaspora who have become involved in the assimilation process and are leaving the fold?

YL:   Jewish Agency chief Natan Sharansky described the situation accurately when he said that there are only two real anchors to help a person remain being Jewish. One is being religious…that preserved Jewry for years and  years in the Diaspora and the other is being affiliated to Israel, having a strong connection with it and ultimately fulfilling plans to live there.  There is no other choice than to come to live in Israel to prevent assimilation. This is the best guarantee. It allows us to follow the traditions of generations and generations…something that even the Nazis couldn’t succeed to extinguish. What Betar is doing is vital as it is not always a convenient time for people to make Aliyah but we have to give the community the tools to allow those who want to do so to prepare to come to live in Israel. We will do whatever we can to connect them to Israel. We will give them pride in being Betarim and in being Zionists. And this will be not only for those who make Aliyah but also for those who decide to live here.  It will make for a strong Israel and a strong Diaspora that will continue for generations. It is a serious issue for each individual to maintain the continuity of their own family and as a mark of respect for their own fathers and mothers and for those who did not survive the Holocaust.

JW: For those on the path to assimilation and who are becoming or have become unaffiliated, does Betar presents an important step on the road back?

YL: It’s not just a first step. It’s a crucial step. In Betar you receive  Zionism and the connection to the land of Israel and you receive pride as a Jew. You receive knowledge and a deep understanding of your heritage. More than that, Betar is a way of life. You learn to be a better person. You learn the real meaning of human rights. Jabotinsky placed a lot of importance on those issues. He wasn’t just a Jewish Nationalist. He saw the importance of being an honest man, of being a man who contributes to society, of showing respect for others. Jew or not. This unique combination is found in Betar…and if you can get this for your children it’s irresponsible not to do so.

JW: In your experience, have you come across those who lost the way and have returned through their children and through Betar?

YL: Of course. If your child is a member of Betar, the prospects of him or her staying Jewish and understanding what it means to be Jewish and perhaps making Aliyah are much higher than for those who socialise in bars and have no knowledge of life’s lessons available from Betar.

The meeting held at Sydney’s Central Syagogue was addressed by Dr Ron Weiser, as member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency and Olami Nerya Meir, Head of Betar .

 

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