Rabbi Mazuz at ceremony for Paris victims.
(photo credit: AVI PALACH)
The spiritual patron of the new Yahad Party, Rabbi Meir Mazuz, took aim on Monday at ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism and at Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog, who he warned endangered Israel’s security standing.
Speaking at a political rally in the southern town of Netivot, Mazuz alluded to the frequent threats of UTJ and Shas in the last months of the outgoing Knesset to back a left-wing coalition after the coming election because of what they see as anti-haredi (ultra-Orthodox) measures taken by the outgoing Likudled government.
“When I see the three haredi political parties, the three of them saying [to back] only the Left... everyone knows how to interpret them, and do I need to follow them,” Mazuz said, referring to the Shas Party and the two factions that make up UTJ – Degel Hatorah and Agudat Israel.
The Yahad Party, headed by renegade Shas MK Eli Yishai, is seeking to put behind it weeks of dispute in which it barely managed to agree on a Knesset candidates list with the far-right, national-religious Otzma Yehudit Party in an effort to pass the electoral threshold. Yishai has set out the party’s goal as uniting components of the haredi community and the national-religious community under a single political banner for the first time.
Speaking of Herzog, Mazuz said that “If we go after this man, the letters of whose name have the numeric value of 304, who knows what will happen to us, the whole of the Land of Israel may be destroyed.”
The rabbi, who serves as dean of the haredi Kiseh Rahamim Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, took an unusual step by haredi standards and insisted that synagogues and prayer groups regularly say the prayer for the well-being of IDF soldiers.
“Can we say that we are better than the generation of King David?” asked Mazuz. “We must bless them [the soldiers]. If someone gives you a few shekels – you bless him, if he gives you his blood – should you not bless him then too?” Mazuz has previously said that haredi men who are not fulfilling their study obligations in yeshiva are obligated to enlist in the IDF and harm the “Torah world” if they do not do so.
Yahad was also scheduled to hold a political conference Monday night in the town of Yad Binyamin to drum up voters in the party’s battle to pass the electoral threshold, where Mazuz was expected to speak.
The party’s Knesset candidates, including MK Yoni Chetboun, Rabbi Amital Bareli, Dudi Shomenfeld, Sasson Trebalsi and Baruch Marzel, of Otzma Yehudit, were also expected to participate in the proceedings.