Rabbi Yaakov Shapira 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, head of the Elon Moreh Yeshiva, warned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday night that if he broke his word and prolonged the construction freeze, prominent rabbis from the national-religious sector would call on their flocks to support Israel Beiteinu leader Avidgor Lieberman as the next prime minister.
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Levanon was the last speaker at an emergency conference that took place in Jerusalem regarding the emerging possibility that Netanyahu would extend the construction moratorium.
The rabbi did not mention Lieberman by name, but he left no doubt as to who the “leader of a big party, who tells the truth and has aspirations to be prime minister” was, nor did he disregard “the problems we have with some of his policies, such as on conversions.”
Unlike Netanyahu, Levanon said, Lieberman “will continue to speak the truth as the head of the state.”
“A member of the Knesset who lied in court lost his seat,” he said of Kadima’s Tzahi Hanegbi, “but a prime minister who lied to an entire nation carries on as if nothing happened – how could such a thing be?” Participating in the Jerusalem gathering were some of the most senior rabbis from the national-religious sector, including Beit El Yeshiva head Rabbi Zalman Melamed, Or Etzion Yeshiva head Rabbi Haim Druckman, Mercaz Harav Yeshiva leader Rabbi Ya’acov Shapira, former rabbinical courts head Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, and some 80 others.
Most of the other speakers, however, were more positive in their addresses, and stressed the need to join forces and provide backing to the premier, who should under no circumstances agree to another freeze.
Shas received special attention as the party representing “our brother in heart and soul in spreading Torah and faith,” in the words of Rabbi Yehoshua Shapira, head of the Ramat Gan Yeshiva.
“Don’t hide the truth from [Shas mentor] Rabbi Ovadia Yosef – you are building the bridge for this freeze,” he said. “It all depends on you; have courage.”