Labor leader calls out Liberman for anti-haredi rhetoric in Twitter spat

“If Israel is important to you, stop your disqualifying and hateful rhetoric before a civil war breaks out here," Peretz tweeted to Liberman.

Israel's Foreign Affairs Minister Avigdor Liberman, 2011 (photo credit: JOSE MANUEL RIBEIRO/REUTERS)
Israel's Foreign Affairs Minister Avigdor Liberman, 2011
Labor-Gesher leader Amir Peretz called on Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman to stop his “hateful rhetoric” against haredim and Arabs in a Twitter spat on Sunday, after Peretz told Channel 13 news that Liberman is the main reason that Israel is going to another round of elections.
Liberman had responded to Peretz’s comments to Channel 13 on Twitter, writing that he values Peretz and that his “heart is with him.”
“If his attacks on me help him attract attention and to be relevant again, I relinquish my honor and am at his service. But I am in doubt if this will help the State of Israel and if this is the way to prevent an unnecessary election,” tweeted Liberman.
In response, Peretz tweeted that “if Israel is important to you, stop your disqualifying and hateful rhetoric before a civil war breaks out here. The hate and racism that you made against haredim and Arabs are the reasons that we’ve been dragged to a third election.”
“My friend Peretz,” responded Liberman in a second tweet, “it’s not fitting for you to get mad even when the feeling is one of political distress. There is no hateful and racist speech against haredim, [rather] exactly the opposite. I will be the first to oppose the opening of supermarkets on Shabbat in Bnei Brak and strongly oppose the closing of supermarkets on Shabbat in Ashdod. [I] am for Judaism, but against religious coercion. Live and let live.”
In a post on his Facebook page on Sunday afternoon, Liberman spoke out against the left-wing parties in Israel, calling on them to support a draft law that would require haredim to join the IDF.
“The IDF since its founding has been a national army and melting pot of Israeli society,” wrote Liberman. “Recently, we’ve heard, especially from the left side of the political map, an appeal to those same basic principles that have accompanied us for over 70 years, and calls to switch to the model of a professional army and to give up on drafting the haredim.”
Liberman called the idea to switch to a professional military instead of a forced enlistment system a “fatal error from both a military and a moral perspective.”
“Without skilled reserve forces, we won’t be able to deal with an all-out war like the Six Day War,” warned the Yisrael Beytenu leader, adding that the enlistment of haredim is a moral demand, as 90% of haredim who have served in the IDF have “left the ghetto” and have integrated into the workforce and Israeli society in general.
Liberman called the current draft law a “resounding failure that has never stood by its goals and is currently only serving the Bayit Yehudi Party.” He confirmed his commitment to the model of the national military, the principle that everyone must carry the national burden equally, and that the IDF is a melting pot of Israeli society.
“For these three things, there is no substitute,” wrote Liberman. “We will continue to fight for the enlistment of haredim to the IDF and for the fixing of the national-citizen draft law, such that will allow the enlistment of all minorities, and part of the haredim that won’t be able to integrate into military service.”
Liberman addressed “all the members of Knesset from the Left that hug the haredim only in order to get into power,” quoting a statement by Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion, saying “the first goal of the IDF is national security, even though this isn’t its only job. The IDF must be used as a pioneering education center for the youth of Israel: those born here and those who immigrated to here. The IDF must educate the pioneering generation, healthy in body and mind that will heal the fragments of the tribes and the exiles and be trained to fulfil the historic goal of the State of Israel of self-fulfilment, as the builder of the homeland and the settler of its wilderness.”