Lee Zeldin held two back-to-back rallies in Brooklyn on Sunday, packed with hundreds of onlookers and supporters — wearing black hats or modest dresses and with posses of little children in tow — brought to his camp courtesy of the New York Times.
Crowds of religious Jews gathered in the Borough Park and Williamsburg neighborhoods to give a hero’s welcome to the man they pray will be the next governor of New York, galvanized by the recent hit piece in the Times targeting their children’s religious education.
The story was revealed by Breitbart News to be a distorted and deranged hit piece, ignoring relevant sources and omitting information to produce outrageous allegations about tens of thousands of people with little-to-no basis. However, the story quite successfully marshaled the Democrat-run state government against religious Jewish private schools.
In stunning and unbelievable timing, the day after the Times story was published, the Board of Regents held a unanimous vote, without debate, that regulated yeshivas in New York State, allowing state functionaries heavier say in the education of Orthodox children. Those children happen to be of parents staunchly opposed to the social justice curriculum that has been injected into most other New York schools.
It is still unclear how the edict will be executed; however, the draconian move was a shot heard in Orthodox communities across the state, a population of almost one million.
Breitbart News spoke to a number of people attending the rallies, parents of children in the yeshiva system, graduates of yeshivas and seminaries themselves, who expressed that they were moved to give Zeldin their vote as a result of the assault on education rights by the Democratic Party state government, instigated by the Times.
Jacob Rosenberg, a man from the Satmar Hasidic sect who spoke to Breitbart News at the Williamsburg event, called parental rights in education an “existential issue,” that, in its absence, would lead to “cultural genocide” — calling this election a “fight to preserve our heritage.”
He explained that Hasidic Jews are not politically ideological and don’t vote based on party, but instead based on how receptive particular politicians are to their needs and interests. He emphasized that the community makes an effort to build relationshipss with its local representatives, and that it is representatives’ responsiveness, not ideology, that dictates who earns their vote.
“We don’t consider ourselves interested in the national party system, we don’t vote for ideology, we vote for representation,” Rosenberg told Breitbart News. “[Sen.] Chuck Schumer (D-NY), he’s a liberal. Most people won’t agree with his views, but he’s attentive to our needs.”
“We don’t vote so much based on what the policies are, we vote on people — we have great relationships with the Democrats here,” Rosenberg continued.
However, following the publication of the Times story, headlined “In Hasidic Enclaves, Failing Private Schools Flush With Public Money,” the community watched as none of their elected leaders responded in their defense, and no one pushed back on the aspersions, or on the regulatory consequences that followed. Except Zeldin.
Following the Board of Regents vote on yeshiva regulation, Zeldin released a statement saying, “New York is so wrong for passing its new substantial-equivalency regulations.”
“Yeshiva education teaches values that have their students living law-abiding, productive lives, and provides high-quality learning experiences for so many young boys and girls,” the statement read. “As Governor, I will promote more school choice, not less, and do everything in my power to fight for students first and empower parents to be in control of their family’s destiny in life and truly be in charge of their child’s education and upbringing.”
“Literally nobody stood up for us, nobody spoke out,” Rosenberg told Breitbart News. “There was one person who spoke out: Lee Zeldin.”
“Lee Zeldin spoke out and Kathy Hochul did not, regardless of whether there’s anything they can do,” Rosenberg said. “Lee Zeldin at least pretended to care, he spoke up. Kathy Hochul dropped the ball. She was silent, she wasn’t there.”
“We are starting to wake up that a lot of our Democratic friends — who we thought are our friends — are just here for the votes,” he went on. “It’s not that we need a Republican. We just need somebody who speaks out for us and cares about us.”
Joel Blaustein, another Satmar man who spoke to Breitbart News, said the Times antagonizing the community, and the response to it by Democratic politicians in the state, was “one hundred percent the trigger” that led to broad Orthodox Jewish support for the Republican gubernatorial candidate.
“I can confirm for you 100%. I know the vibes, I know where the anger is coming from,” Blaustein said.
A third Satmar man in Williamsburg, who wanted to keep his identity concealed, told Breitbart News that he was “absolutely, 100%” moved to support Zeldin following the Times stitch-up being published and the political reaction that followed.
“I’m not a big voter, I’m not big into politics. I just do like to understand things,” the man said. “But absolutely, I’m going to be voting, probably only for the second time in my life.”
Blaustein also told Breitbart News that despite disagreeing with Democrats on a number of ideological points, Hasidic voters cast their ballot for them in the past because they felt well heard and represented by politicians like Schumer, Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY), Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), and New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D). However, following what he described as an attack by the Times and the government that is “threatening our existence,” the sense of closeness and loyalty to their representatives has evaporated.
“The New York Times came out with an attack and none of the politicians are commenting. Nobody comments,” Blaustein said. “Where are all our friends? Where are our members of Congress, where’s the governor, where was the mayor? Some of them made, like, a slight comment on Twitter, but that’s it. And people felt like this is the most major attack since we came here after World War II, this is the most major attack, which is actually threatening our existence if this will really be implemented.”
In a now-deleted tweet, Times agitator Eliza Shapiro, who wrote the smear published in late September, acknowledged: “Yeshivas continue to play a major role in the [governor] race,” showing a photo of a letter sent by the president of a yeshiva (who she also bizarrely points out is “a major landlord”) urging religious Jews to vote for Zeldin.
In the 2018 New York governor election, Hasidic neighborhoods went solid blue for Cuomo (D). In the 2017 Big Apple mayoral election, Hasidic neighborhoods went deep blue for Bill DeBlasio (D). In the 2016 election, the neighborhoods showed up for Velázquez, despite South Williamsburg going to Donald Trump (R) the same year.
Speaking to Breitbart News for the previous story on this subject, a Hasidic mother predicted how the community would interpret the Times hit piece and the government’s response, and said that it would create unintended backlash for trying to force people of conviction to compromise on their traditions.
“If you look at the curriculum, it’s full of values that we don’t hold by — whether it’s LGBTQ or, you know, talking about sex and sex education in a way that is foreign and frowned upon in our culture,” Malky, a Satmar mother with three sons at a Hasidic school affiliated with one targeted by the Times, told Breitbart News, as published in “Morris: Investigation Reveals New York Times Curated Distorted Hit Piece Targeting Hasidic Jews, Leading to Yeshiva Regulation.”
“[T]he real issue that we have is this is a nefarious way to input and to softly put on values that we don’t hold by, and we’re going to do everything in our power, whether it means losing billions in government funding, whatever it is, we’re going to do everything in our power to prevent that from infiltrating our community,” Malky said of reform in yeshivas.
“I don’t believe that the government has any place or say [in yeshiva education]. I think all they’re doing is they’re making [Hasidic] people more committed. Fighting about the issue, and trying to impose education values that are so far removed from everything that we believe in, everything we stand for … these articles and laws and trying to force change, it’s literally just going to have the opposite effect,” Malky continued.
“We came to a point that we realized these politicians are taking our vote for granted, like we are in their pocket anyway, there’s no point to step up for us, we’re always voting Democrat,” Blaustein told Breitbart News. “What they don’t realize is that we’re not voting Democrat by luck, we’re voting Democrat for pragmatic reasons, for local issues that matter to us, creating a better relationship, better policies.”
“All of a sudden, when it came to the point, after building relationships year after year after year, when it came to the point where we all need them for the most fundamental thing that matters to us, everybody disappears,” Blaustein continued.
“So people are so angry, we have to give a shock to the system, we’re voting Republican down the ballot, to show that we are not in their pockets.”
This content was originally published here.