[...] While he lived in New York from 1989 to 1990, prior to meeting Soros, Elsztain made another “life changing” meeting, with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachim Mendel Schneerson of the New York-based Chabad-Lubavitch movement, often simply referred to as Chabad. Chabad is arguably one of the most influential Orthodox, Hasidic Jewish organizations at the international level — the Times of Israel once called
it “one of the most powerful forces in world Jewry” — and Schneerson was its most prominent and final leader.
Schneerson has been touted
by followers as a “prophetic visionary and pragmatic leader, synthesizing deep insight into the present needs of the Jewish people with a breadth of vision for its future,” who also “charted the course of Jewish history” in the post-World War II era. Among other things, Schneerson controversially taught that “the entire creation [of a non-Jew] exists only for the sake of the Jews” and was implacably hawkish in regards to Israel’s military occupation of Palestine.
Elsztain himself has characterized his meeting with Schneerson as being equally, if not more, important to his future business success as his meeting with Soros. According to an account of the meeting published in Haaretz
, “the rabbi advised him to sell his holdings on the stock exchange and focus on real estate, a suggestion that turned out to be well timed.” Haaretz
concluded that the “success of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s golden advice is possibly what drives Elsztain today.”
Elsztain’s deep ties to the Chabad movement, as well as the long-standing interests in Argentina of Zionists within and outside of Chabad — particularly regarding control of the country’s land and resources, with an emphasis on Patagonia — will be discussed in detail in a subsequent installment of this series. For now, it is worth noting that Chabad’s website states
that Elsztain “is honorary president of Chabad of Argentina, and in that capacity has been a crucial partner for all Chabad activities in the country and even globally.” [...]