Meretz and Labor MKs called a prayer rally against peace talks featuring senior religious Zionist rabbis and Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel grotesque and shameful, Tuesday.
On Thursday, Ariel, MK Orit Struck (Bayit Yehudi) as well as major religious Zionist figures such as Kiryat Arba Rabbi Dov Lior, former Sephardic chief rabbi candidate Shmuel Eliyahu, Bnei Akiva Yeshivas chairman Rabbi Haim Druckman and others will participate in a prayer rally at the Western Wall to fight “American pressure on Israel to give up portions of the land.”
The invitation to the rally used language reminiscent of the Scroll of Esther, calling for the public to pray “to cancel [US Secretary of State John] Kerry’s decree.”
According to the invitation, thousands are expected to attend and over 100 buses were already ordered to bring demonstrators to the Western Wall.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On called Ariel’s participation in the rally an embarrassment.
“The housing minister funnels millions into settlements, sprouts countless tenders for building in the territories and gives jobs to Bayit Yehudi activists, and now he decided to organize a prayer rally against the government in which he is sitting, the government that allows him to do all this,” Gal- On wrote on Facebook.
According to Gal-On, Ariel’s cooperation with Rabbis Lior, Druckman, Eliyahu and others reveals the truth about the Bayit Yehudi, that it is “an extremist, messianic group that is promoting a terrifying vision of apartheid within the government” and “a hypocritical, shameless group that has been sitting on powerful economic seats for a year – The Economy Ministry, Housing Ministry, Knesset Finance Committee and Israel Lands Authority – and protests at every opportunity against the government of which it is a partner.
“In a civilized government that respects the citizens who elected it, the Bayit Yehudi ministers would have resigned long ago. Moreover, a courageous prime minister would throw the Bayit Yehudi out and take the one thing that’s important to them – the keys to our tax money,” she added.
MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) said popular sketch comedy series Eretz Nehederet “could not have come up with a more grotesque sketch.”
“Ariel initiated a prayer rally against progress in diplomatic negotiations. Finance Minister Yair Lapid sent his party’s activists to demonstrate in favor of separating from the Palestinians,” Cabel wrote on Facebook.
“Eretz Nehederet screenwriters can take the week off.”
Ariel’s office responded that the minister did not organize the demonstration and simply agreed for the organizers to publicize his support for it and that the organizers sent out the invitation without his approving its text.
Ariel expressed his disapproval of the text to the demonstration’s organizers, his office stated.
Meanwhile, the Yesha Council took out full-page ads in Hebrew newspapers Tuesday expressing support for Ariel, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett and Likud Beytenu Deputy Ministers Danny Danon, Ze’ev Elkin, Ofir Akunis and Tzipi Hotovely for publicly coming out against giving land to the Palestinians and the establishment of a Palestinian state.
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