Arye Deri: ‘Pork eaters in, Jewish practice out,’ after election

The Ultra-Orthodox party leader says that this election is a historic national referendum on whether Israel will be a secular state or a Jewish state.

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September 12, 2019 21:04
2 minute read.
Shas party leader Arye Deri

Shas party leader Arye Deri. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The Jewish character of the State of Israel is under an unprecedented threat, said Shas chairman Arye Deri, in what he described as the “fateful” election on Tuesday.

Speaking Wednesday night in front of thousands of Shas activists, supporters and devotees, Deri seized on the recent incendiary rhetoric of Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman to declare that the existence of Judaism itself in Israel is in doubt, and urged the haredi community to vote en masse for Shas to counter this danger.

He railed against what he said were attempts to trample on Jewish tradition by the non-religious parties.

Arguing that since the polls show Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be unable to form majority right-wing government, the Shas leader said the prime minister may form a secular government without the ultra-Orthodox parties that would be “clean of Judaism.”

Deri was speaking at Shas’s main election rally, staged in Holon in the presence of the party’s Council of Torah Sages, who also addressed the crowd, warning of the dangers to Judaism in a possible coalition excluding the religious parties.

“There is a real danger to Judaism in the State of Israel,” declared Deri. “The citizens of Israel will need to choose between a Jewish state and a secular state like all other nations, God forbid. Everyone will vote if they are in favor of Shabbat or against Shabbat, if they are in favor of a Jewish education and values or if they are against, and that from their point of view everything is being made more religious.”

Deri touched on key haredi sensitivities, such as civil marriage, and public transportation and increased commerce on the Sabbath, as well as conversion to Judaism.

“We are having a referendum after all the masks have been removed, and for the first time the character and nature of the State of Israel stands before a fateful decision the likes of which has never been seen in Jewish history,” Deri said. “If, God forbid, the anti-religious parties will win, and Shas and the rest of the religious parties will lose, it will be a tragedy for generations. I know that [Prime Minister Benjamin] Bibi [Netanyahu] prefers to establish a government with us… but if Shas is not strong enough and big enough, he will capitulate to the extortion of Liberman and establish a Judaism-free government and a government free of religious people.

“It will be observers of religious tradition and Judaism out, [and] eaters of pork and the tramplers of Shabbat in,” he pronounced.

Head of the Shas Council of Torah Sages Rabbi Shalom Cohen spoke at the end of the rally, warning of the divine punishment that would be visited on Israel should secular policies be enacted.

“They want to make this land secular,” declared Cohen. “This is a disgrace to God. God will abandon this country and go. This will not be the Land of Israel. It will be the Land of Ishmael. Should we not cry that God is in pain?” he said tearfully, and concluded by promising that anyone who votes for Shas will go to heaven in the afterlife.


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