An op-ed article published on Sunday in one of the largest selling haredi daily
newspapers, Yated Ne’eman, has caused political consternation by comparing a
speech made by Adolf Hitler to an article written by Finance Minister Yair
Haim Valder, a haredi author and educator, started his article by
questioning the root source of “hatred towards haredim” which he claimed is
rampant in the country at present.
He noted “the non-Jews always found an
excuse for hating Jews... The Protocols of the Elders of Zion presented the Jews
as the ones pulling the strings and controlling the world.”
compared this accusation with a comment made by Lapid to haredi MK Moshe Gafni,
when he said in the Knesset last month, “the State of Israel has stopped taking
instructions from you.”
Valder wrote, the general idea is that those
oppressing Jews claim not to hate them, but state that they have no choice but
to act against them in case the Jews take control.
Valder then quoted
several passages from a speech made by Adolf Hitler to the Reichstag in
Germany had to remove the idea that Jews had a right to “to be
parasites that gain nourishment from the bodies of productive citizens,” the
Nazi leader said and promised the annihilation of Jewry if “Jewish financiers”
started a world war.
“Hitler was already preparing the ground for the
destruction of the Jewish race by spreading hateful propaganda which portrayed
Jews as parasites,” Valder wrote.
He then referenced Deputy Finance
Minister Mickey Levy when he referred to the ultra-Orthodox as parasites in an
interview with haredi radio station Kol Barama last month, although he
“Although it’s clear that the intentions of the
haters of religion is not to physically destroy the haredim (although the wild
incitement is likely, God forbid, to cause awful tragedies), they have an
explicitly malicious intent towards everything relating to our quality of life,”
He continued that current legislative proposals to revoke
certain state benefits from anyone not working or actively looking for
employment is a harm to the community.
“[It hurts] our ability to live
normal lives... to deny us our basic rights such as stipends, municipal tax
discounts, income support, food for children, child daycare, education, and even
the ability to leave the country.”
Valder then cited an article written
by Lapid two years ago.
“Forget ideology, forget that I don’t understand
how it doesn’t bother you that you live on my dime, but I no longer have the
money to pay for all this, it’s over, it’s finished, there is no more, not only
not for your children but for my own children I don’t have enough,” Lapid wrote
at the time.
“We have to find a way, my friend, or it will end
He concluded with a Talmudic phrase literally translated as
“either a study partner or death,” but it is usually understood to stress the
importance of society to the individual.
“Now you tell me how different
is that from the other concluding sentence?” Valder asked alluding to Hitler’s
threat to destroy world Jewry.
Lapid’s office decried the article as
“outrageous incitement” for political purposes.
“The comparison between
Lapid, the son of a Holocaust survivor, to the greatest enemy of the Jewish
people in history is outrageous incitement which makes ugly political use out of
a painful wound,” his office said. “We are saddened that instead of dealing with
the relevant issues of state of the economy and Israeli society and the need to
increase partnership in the work force, there are those who choose to escape to
a dialogue of unnecessary and dangerous incitement.”
Yesh Atid MK and
haredi rabbi Dov Lipman said that it showed how extreme the haredi leadership
“Minister Lapid is proposing [that] 1,800 elite Torah
scholars will be recognized as serving the state through their Torah study...
and compensated for it, the rest can study Torah uninterrupted until age 21 and
then serve in military or national service geared specifically to haredim and
their lifestyle and for money to flow to programs which help haredim enter the
workforce. And he is compared to Hitler?” Lipman asked.
“I call on all
moderate haredim to join the many who have ‘seen the light’ and reject this
extremism. Let’s work together to strengthen the haredi community by laying the
groundwork for young men to be Torah scholars, fervently Orthodox, and sustain
their families with dignity.”