"Yated Ne'eman: Chronicle of the Haredi-Lithuanian World"
Yated Ne'eman is a Haredi-Lithuanian newspaper affiliated with the Degel HaTorah party. It has been in publication since 1985 and boasts the highest circulation in the Haredi sector on weekdays.
In the early 1980s, differences of opinion emerged within the Agudat Yisrael organization, particularly between the Lithuanian faction and the Hasidic groups. Leading the Hasidic faction was Chassidut Gur, also known as "the central faction," which held sway in Agudat Yisrael.
When the views of Rabbi Eliezer Menachem Man Shach were not given the highest authority during a public battle within the Haredi Lithuanian community, and Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky ("the Steipler") was dissatisfied with the content of Agudat Yisrael's newspaper, he informed Rabbi Shach in 1985 of the establishment of a new newspaper intended to serve the Lithuanian public.
The newspaper's first editor, Rabbi Shmuel Chasida, gave it the name "Yated" - Judaism, Torah, and Faith. The addition of the word "Ne'eman" (faithful) was proposed by the Steipler. Yated Ne'eman first appeared on July 12, 1985 (23rd of Tammuz, 5745).
The publisher of the newspaper is the Yatedot T.S.M.O. Publishing and Marketing Ltd., which is controlled by the Yatedot Tash-Mem-Vav Association, dedicated to promoting Jewish values.
Rabbi Shach served as the supreme authority of Yated Ne'eman, and the newspaper reflected his ideological perspective. Simultaneously, Rabbi Shach appointed a council of rabbis to serve as the spiritual authority for the newspaper's editorial team and readership. The committee included rabbis such as Moshe Aharon Brawer, Tzvi Friedman, Shmuel Deutsch, Nathan Zuckowsky, Yosef Yisraelzon, and Chaim Shaul Karlics.
After Rabbi Shach's passing in 2001, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv became the prominent leader of the Lithuanian Haredi community in Israel and the highest authority within the Degel HaTorah party. Concurrently, followers of Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman alleged that the newspaper disrespected their rabbi and other rabbis who differed on the ideological stance of the publication. Consequently, in March 2008, a competing daily newspaper named Yom Chadash (New Day) was launched, posing a challenge to Yated Ne'eman. The newspaper ceased publication a few months later.
In May 2012 (Sivan 5772), during Rabbi Elyashiv's illness, efforts at reconciliation failed, leading to the establishment of the Yatedot Tash-Mem-Vav Association and the newspaper's rabbinical committee.
Under the guidance of businessman Shimon Glick, a close associate of Rabbi Shteinman, Glick was appointed the chairman of the Yatedot T.S.M.O. Publishing and Marketing Ltd., giving him control over the newspaper.
Shortly thereafter, in June 2012, Yated Ne'eman published a free edition titled "Gilui Da'at" (Disclosure of Opinion), in which Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky wrote that "the leadership of the generation" is entrusted to Rabbi Shteinman, and one must obey him. Rabbi Elyashiv's instructions indicated that Rabbi Shteinman would lead the newspaper.
Jacob Levin, the longtime CEO of the newspaper, attempted to publish a simultaneous letter from Rabbi Avirbach, in which Rabbi Elyashiv stated that no changes should be made to the newspaper. Levin was dismissed. Former employees of Yated Ne'eman filed a lawsuit against the proceedings and requested a restraining order, but the court rejected both the request and the lawsuit a year later.
About a month after the legal proceedings, in July 2012, Grossman and Levin, with Rabbi Avirbach's support, established HaPeles (The Sledgehammer), a competing newspaper. This further intensified the division within the Lithuanian Haredi community between Rabbi Shteinman's followers and Rabbi Avirbach's followers. Rabbi Avirbach's followers formed a new party and separate institutions.
In May 2019, the newspaper's management published a letter by Glick addressed to Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, in which he described allegations that prominent figures in Israel's Haredi community were not sufficiently involved in the newspaper's affairs. He also included Rabbi Edelstein's response, stating that the newspaper's affairs are under the supervision of Rabbi Nathan Zuckowsky, and consultations with Rabbi Edelstein himself are held regularly. These events were connected to the power struggle between Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky's circle and Rabbi Edelstein's circle.
Yated Ne'eman represents the views and perspectives of Torah scholars within the Lithuanian Haredi community, especially Rabbi Shach, followed by Rabbi Elyashiv and Rabbi Shteinman. The newspaper periodically publishes "Torah Opinions" on various topics and issues, providing guidance to its readers.
On the political front, the newspaper echoes Rabbi Shach's perspective, who regarded the secular left and Arabs with suspicion while rejecting the nationalist approach, asserting that the Jewish people are still in exile and should exercise caution in their relations with other nations.
In 2005, for example, the newspaper strongly opposed the disengagement plan and condemned Ariel Sharon, referring to him as a dictator. The newspaper's stance was that the protest against the disengagement plan was "a clear Zionist struggle with which there is no reason to identify in any way."
Over the years, Yated Ne'eman has been at the forefront of the Haredi community's battle against the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. With the appointment of Rabbi Yona Metzger as the Chief Rabbi of Israel, under the influence of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, Yated Ne'eman escalated its attacks on the Chief Rabbinate.
The newspaper's writing style is sharp and biting, particularly towards groups with different religious perspectives, such as secularists, Chabad Hasidim, Religious Zionists, and the leadership of the Haredi noon prayer. In recent years, the newspaper has had limited coverage of Haredim who do not conform to the mainstream Haredi community, often referred to as "outsiders" or "new Haredim."
In May 2013, Chaim Walder published an article in the newspaper in which he compared statements by Yair Lapid about the Haredi community to Adolf Hitler's statements about Jews.
In July 2020, the newspaper published an advertisement for the daily study of the Rambam, a practice promoted by Rabbi Shach. He strongly opposed this practice.
Libel Lawsuits Against the Newspaper
In several instances, individuals who felt harmed by the newspaper's content have filed lawsuits. In 2005, an article by the editor Israel Werthzal criticized Rabbi Israel Rozen, alleging that he circumvented Jewish law for financial gain. Rabbi Rozen filed a defamation lawsuit against the newspaper, the writer, and two of the editors in Jerusalem's Small Claims Court. The court ruled in favor of Rabbi Rozen in 2009, awarding him damages of 70,000 shekels.
In 2014, Yoav Lalum, the chairman of the Noar Kahalacha Association, filed a libel suit for 300,000 shekels against the newspaper and its editors. He claimed that the newspaper insulted him in its writing and referred to him with derogatory terms following his activities in the High Court of Justice against the Talmud Torah in Emmanuel.
In January 2019, the court ruled in favor of Lalum, awarding him 135,000 shekels in damages: 60,000 from the newspaper and a combined sum of 75,000 shekels from four members of the newspaper's editorial team.
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