Haredi leaders hit out against Bennett, Lapid

Bennett: We thought we would be first party to join coalition, only party boycotting anyone was Likud against Bayit Yehudi.

Eli Yishai 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)
Eli Yishai 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)
The senior haredi political leadership hit out angrily against both Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett over the weekend in response to the ever-greater likelihood that Shas and United Torah Judaism will be excluded from the forthcoming government.
Joint Shas leader Eli Yishai issued a statement on Facebook accusing Lapid of trying to “exclude the haredi parties from government and from Israeli society,” while charging Bennett with “sacrificing the future of the settlements on the alter of hatred for haredim.”
“The exclusion of haredim has become a holy value for him,” said Yishai.
Taking aim at Bayit Yehudi, the Shas leader said that “the hatred of Lapid toward us is stronger than the love of Bennett for the different parts of the Land of Israel and concern for the settlements.”
“If this wasn’t the case, he would have known that the price of his friendship with Lapid will be expensive for the settlements of Judea and Samaria,” Yishai continued.
He accused Bennett of betraying the haredim, when they had opposed any further territorial withdrawals from the West Bank and who he said “understand that security comes before peace.”
“Anyone who wants to advance social changes needs to do it through understanding and respect, not through passing laws and decisions without those who will bear the changes are when they are not part of the game and not part of the decision-making process,” Yishai commented.
Senior United Torah Judaism MK Ya’acov Litzman also weighed in against Bayit Yehudi, saying that “the boycott of an entire community is despicable and revolting behavior that is a mark of shame on the leadership of the Bayit Yehudi leadership.”
Meir Porush, another UTJ MK, said that “the disengagement of Bayit Yehudi from the Torah world strengthens [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu to take steps, together with Yesh Atid, to enact a disengagement from Judea and Samaria.
“I didn’t believe that people from Bayit Yehudi, whom we worked with to strengthen the Land of Israel, would descend to such a dangerous and harmful process against the haredim and the Torah world,” Porush said.
MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) hit out at Lapid, accusing him of deceit.
“It’s easy to say ‘We don’t hate haredim’ and then in practice do everything to harm the way of life, faith, outlook and compass of the haredi community,” said Gafni.
He told Lapid to “study some history and see that UTJ has been in opposition more than in government,” but noted that his party’s animus was directed more at Bayit Yehudi than Yesh Atid.
“Our claims are against his partners who suffer from a permanent boycott and are now joining Lapid’s boycott against the haredi community,” Gafni said of the national- religious party.
Bennett, in a lengthy explanation of the course of coalition negotiations in a Facebook post on Saturday night, said that he was not excluding either Shas or UTJ, and that the only party to boycott others had been the Likud, when it has boycotted his party.
He noted that Shas had waged “a campaign of deligitimization against the national religious [sector],” and referenced Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s recent comment that his party was “the house of non-Jews.”
Bennett went on to explain that his party had expected to be a natural partner and the first party to join the coalition after the election, but that a Likud decision to boycott Bayit Yehudi had forced it to act and form the pact with Yesh Atid not to enter the coalition without each other.