By COLlive reporter
Iraqi-born Israeli writer and civil servant Eli Amir recalled last week his involvement in building Chabad neighborhoods and what the Rebbe told him when they met.
A known name associated with the Israeli left, Amir served as adviser on Arab affairs to the Prime Minister of Israel and director-general of the Youth Aliyah department of the Jewish Agency.
At a Tu B’Shvat event organized by the Israeli Business Club in London, England, he met with Rabbi Schneur Glitsenstein, Director of the local Chabad House for Hebrew speakers and Israeli expats.
Amir was excited to meet the young Lubavitcher and began telling him how he helped build the Nachlas Har Chabad neighborhood in Kiryat Maalachi and Shikun Chabad in the city of Lod.
“When I was director-general of the Absorption Ministry, Chabad was working to help the immigrants from Georgia and Bukhara with housing. There were many difficulties and the staff weren’t aware of the needs [of observant Jews],” Amir said.
“Throughout the journey, I showed great care to promote and approve all their religious needs,” he added.
“The Chabad people that were in touch with me probably updated the Lubavitcher Rebbe on what I was doing, and at one time I merited to receive a thank you letter from him.”
Amir noted that “I didn’t know to appreciate the letter at the time, but I still have it.” (It is printed in Igros Kodesh and Yemei Tmimim).
He said that when he visited New York in later years, he went to receive a dollar from the Rebbe to give to charity and was accompanied by Rabbi Avrohom Hecht, today president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America – Igud HaRabanim.
“The Rebbe gave me a dollar and blessed me for my important activities on behalf of the community,” he concluded.