Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett paid a visit to two of the most
prestigious haredi yeshivas in the world on Monday, in an attempt to allay the
fears of the ultra-Orthodox community that he is working against them, as well
as to send a message that national service and Torah study can be
Bennett visited the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem’s Mea She’arim
neighborhood and met with the leading rabbis of the institution and several
students, in order to better acquaint himself with the haredi community, the
Bayit Yehudi leader said.
Bennett also sat with the dean of the Mir
Yeshiva Rabbi Eliezer Yehudah Finkel to learn about the daily schedule of the
yeshiva students and the yeshiva more broadly, which counts more than 7,000
students learning in its study halls.
“The haredim are our brothers, not
an enemy, not an opponent and Torah study is a national interest of the State of
Israel and the entire Jewish people,” Bennett told the press outside the
“We need to strengthen the Torah world, but also to find the
right path to face the heavy economic and security burdens of the State of
Israel [which entails] certain changes,” he continued. “Everything will be done
with dialogue and through the understanding that we’re brothers.”
also noted that “a large sector of the Jewish people have proved that is
possible to combine Torah study and military service.”
visit to the Mir, a small group of protesters voiced their opposition to the
Bayit Yehudi leader’s visit.
Bennett also visited the renowned Hebron
Yeshiva in the Givat Mordechai neighborhood where he also met with rabbis and
students of the yeshiva.
Speaking later in a Knesset faction meeting,
Bennett said that the term “equality in the burden of service” should also
relate to the “burden of Torah,” as well as that of work and military
He also stated that “the current situation cannot continue,”
especially in light of the greatly increasing size of the haredi population
which, he said, necessitates change from the current reality.
the Knesset plenum, co-Shas leader and Interior Minister Eli Yishai called on
Bayit Yehudi MKs not to be held captive by its informal agreement with Yesh Atid
that neither party not to enter government without each other.
study is what has protected the Jewish world and allowed for the establishment
of the state,” Yishai said.
He also called for a solution on the issue of
haredi enlistment to be reached through agreement “to avoid tearing the nation
Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman challenged Yishai by citing famous
rabbinic personalities of the past who combined their Torah study with
professional careers, and reminded the Shas leader that the Talmud states that
“Torah study without work will be nullified and leads to sin.”
said in response that anyone learning full time in yeshiva should not be