“I will pay 100 dollars a head to all those who vote for the Meretz party,”
thundered Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, the grand rabbi of the Satmar Hassidim, in a
rally in Jerusalem’s Shabbat Square organized over a month after the Knesset
Several haredi men, eagerly walking past on the way
to the Jerusalem army recruitment center glanced over disinterestedly as
Teitelbaum spoke, not paying him much attention.
According to Shloime
LoKoreh, the Rebbe’s assistant, he had gotten confused about the date of the
election due to his “debilitating myopia that caused me to misread the
Teitelbaum, speaking Yiddish, told several pigeons perched
nearby that constituted a large segment of his audience that the only way
forward for Israel and the Jewish people was to vote for the Meretz
Meretz, he claimed, will help restore the balance in Israel where
haredim constitute a disproportionate percentage in the top army units and have
begun to change the IDF into a more religious organization.
“Meretz, as a
party that opposes religion and state, will bring the haredim back to their
yeshivas and out of the army, which is still not kosher, despite only serving
food certified by the Edah Haredit,” he said.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On
ascended the podium after the rabbi, and told the crowd of black-hatted new
recruits, now on their way home from the induction center, proudly discussing
what units they wished to join, that their presence in the army was not good for
the State of Israel.
“We have to equalize the burden and allow more
secular Jews to join Sayeret Matkal!” she shouted, referring to the General
Staff’s special elite recon unit. “There are too many beards there already! Go
back to your yeshivot!” As the new recruits hurried away, Gal-On told the
pigeons, who were rooting around looking for crumbs on the sidewalk in front of
the podium, that the longstanding phenomena of haredim taking away jobs from
secular Jews also had to stop immediately.
“I implore you,” she cried,
“go and study the holy Torah.
I swear I won’t complain about you dodging
the draft any more if you just go back to your shtetls.”
In a related
development, MK Avigdor Liberman (Likud Beytenu), who campaigned on the issue of
repealing the longstanding 1949 Equality of Service Law, told The Jerusalem
Roast that he believed that the future of Israel as a Jewish state required a
solution to the high enlistment rates among young Arab men.
has gotten so bad, he alleged, that Palestinians from the West Bank, and even
some from Gaza, were infiltrating Israel to join up.
“They are squeezing
us out with their wholehearted acceptance of Zionist tenets,” he said. “Of
course, our lenient conversion courts make it so easy to become Jewish that I
guess it’s not a problem, although the majority of Jews in Israel will soon
either be haredi or Arab,” he sighed.