A group of senior national religious rabbis led by Kiryat Arba’s chief rabbi,
Dov Lior, sent a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the leaders of
all political factions calling on them not to “harm” the ability of Torah
students to continue their studies.
The letter also implored the future
government to “preserve the spiritual heart of our country” by adhering to
Judaism in matters of conversion and family.
The letter may put pressure
on Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett in terms of what is being negotiated for
increasing haredi enlistment in national service programs.
Lior and the
other signatories, rabbis Elyakim Levanon, David Hai Cohen, Michael Hershkowitz
and Shimon Cohen, represent the conservative wing of the national religious
movement and are opposed to sweeping changes in the ability of full-time yeshiva
students to gain exemptions from military service.
The so-called “hardal”
(haredi national religious) wing of the community is represented within Bayit
Yehudi by four MKs of the hard-right Tkuma party, including the number two on
the Bayit Yehudi list, Tkuma chairman Uri Ariel, and number four, Rabbi Eli Ben-
“The apple of our eye, those who study Torah, must not be injured
at all, God forbid, in their studies,” the letter read.
“We must all
preserve the public nature of Shabbat,” the rabbis added, insisting as well on
the “exclusive rights of the Jewish people on the entire breadth of the land
inherited from our forefathers.”