Yishai: Don’t separate haredim in Beit Shemesh

Interior minister says he opposed the split because he did not want to divide the Jewish people.

yishai shalom netanyahu cabinet meeting 311 (photo credit: Haim Tzach)
yishai shalom netanyahu cabinet meeting 311
(photo credit: Haim Tzach)
Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) came out strongly against splitting Beit Shemesh into separate haredi and nonharedi cities on Thursday, telling a haredi radio station that such a move would be disastrous.
Netanyahu’s associates confirmed that the the prime minister had discussed such a possibility with Yishai, but said that it was just one of many alternatives considered for the city and that it was unlikely to be adopted.
RELATED:
Haredi man indicted for sexually harassing soldier
MK Hotovely: 'Extremists desecrating the Torah'
When speaking to mainstream media, Yishai said he opposed the split because he did not want to divide the Jewish people, but when addressing haredi listeners, his reasoning was more candid.
“When I became interior minister in 2003, there had been a recommendation to split the city and already then, I said it was not the right thing to do,” Yishai told the radio station Kol Barama.
“It would create a haredi city lacking income, property tax and other taxes, with no industry. It’s not the right thing to do.”
Yishai has spoken out against haredi extremists. He revealed that he had received threats in the past from the haredi extremist Sikrikim group.
Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) said Thursday that haredi extremists have been sending him death threats in recent months. Litzman said the threats have forced him to travel with a guard for the past four months.
Sources close to Litzman blamed the Sikrikim, which they said are responsible for inciting the recent phenomenon regarding the exclusion of women. They said that as a deputy minister, he does not automatically receive the protection given to ministers, but after receiving the threats, his protection was increased.