| Beginnings: Founded in
1924 by Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook as a yeshiva in Jerusalem.
Ideology: "To promote the philosophy of Rabbi
Abraham Hacohen Kook," which promotes the settler movement.
Noted For: Being a conservative "national-religious
camp" that houses 500 yeshiva students and 200 kollel
(advanced studies) members.
Key Leaders of Mercaz HaRav Kook: Rabbi Zvi Tau,
Rabbi Avraham Shapira
Key Leaders of American Friends of Mercaz HaRav Kook:
Lazer Apfeldorf, Pearl Apfeldorf
Money from Moskowitz's Bingo: $7,320,000 between
1993 and 2001. He gave $7.2 million of this money in 1997,
which accounted for 99 percent of American Friends of Mercaz
Harav Kook donations that year.
Mercaz HaRav Kook is one of the largest yeshivas in Israel.
Its founder, Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook (died 1935), was
dedicated to the rebuilding of a Jewish state in Israel.
While there are conflicting reports about Kook's philosophy,
it is generally understood that he had great respect for
Islam as a sister religion. He was Chief Rabbi in Palestine,
before the establishment of Israel.
Mercaz HaRav Kook, the Yeshiva in Rav Kook's name "is
commonly referred to as the flagship of the national-religious
movement," the Jerusalem Post wrote in 1997. Under
the leadership of his son, Zvi Yehudah Kook (died 1973)
and his "Mercaz" successors produced dozens of
settler leaders including Benny Elon, Benjamin Kahanah,
Shlomo Aviner, and Hanan Porat. Many Mercaz HaRav Kook graduatges
distinguished themselves in developing a mystical-political
mix of messianic ideology and power politics.
David Shipler (Arab and Jew: Wounded Spritsin the Promised
Land: 1986, p. 150) writes: "
Rabbi Zvi Yehuda
Kook used his teachings to interpret the renewal of Jewish
control over Judea and Sumaria [the Israeli-occupied West
Bank] as evidence that redemption was progressing."
From these "redemptive" sparks many of the followers
(some of them supported by Moskowitz's money) would move
to advocating the legitimacy of "transfer," a
code word widely understood to mean removing Arabs from
all of Israel and the West Bank.
In 1997, Rabbi Svi Tau, one of the two leading rabbis of
Mercaz HaRav was a "major force behind the move of
Mercaz Harav students into the house owned by Irving Moskowtiz
in Jerusalem's Ras al-Amud neighborhood," according
to the Jerusalem Post. <link to article> That same
year Moskowitz gave the American Friends of Mercaz Harav
Read a news report about Mercaz HaRav Kook:
A Divided Soul