Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
It’s possible to study Torah and fight on the battlefield, Bayit Yehudi leader
Naftali Bennett said in his first speech to the Knesset Tuesday, matching
messages with his partner in coalition talks, Yesh Atid leader Yair
Bennett focused on haredi (ultra-Orthodox) enlistment and
education, two of the topics on which his party has coordinated with Yesh Atid
in coalition negotiations.
Opening his speech by calling his fellow MKs
his brothers and sisters – terminology frequently used in his party’s campaign –
Bennett asked them to join him in being “freiers,” a slang term for “suckers,”
or as he translated it, “someone who helps others and doesn’t get anything in
“My parents came [from America to Israel] to be
Our parents educated us to be freiers and do the right thing
even if we have to pay a price.
Let’s be freiers for the citizens of
Israel,” he said.
The Bayit Yehudi chairman called for MKs to be unafraid
of paying a political price, for example, in breaking monopolies’ and unions’
stranglehold on the market, which he said would be possible if parties worked
He also condemned schools that “spoil” students, calling for
values-driven education, and said religious services in the country had turned
into a “job-providing machine” instead of showing “the beauty of Judaism to all
“Torah study is not the interest of haredim, but is of
interest to all of us; it is what helped us survive for 2,000 years in exile,”
Bennett said. “The haredim are our brothers, but this situation cannot
Even you, my haredi brothers, know not everyone learns
Using a military metaphor, he said that “the national stretcher
is going to fall” if the haredim did not help carry the burden.
haredi brothers – serving in the army is a mitzva, too,” he said. “I served with
dear brothers who knew to carry a stretcher and learn Torah, charge into a
battlefield and open a page of Talmud.”
As for diplomatic issues, he said
that although he lived in Ra’anana, he felt safe knowing his brothers were
protecting him from the hilltops of Judea and Samaria.
“There is no room
in this small and lovely land God gave us for another country; it won’t happen,”
“Friends, before we debate territory, we have to say: The Land
of Israel belongs to the people of Israel. Now, lets argue.”
Yehudi MK Uri Orbach spoke afterward, congratulating his party leader on
becoming a member of Knesset.
Orbach compared Bennett to Prince Charming
kissing Sleeping Beauty – otherwise known as religious Zionism – and waking her