Right-wing MK Bezalel Smotrich on Wednesday attacked Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and other coalition members and said they should be banned from entering a synagogue.
“Whoever is a partner in this government should not be allowed to enter a synagogue. That’s the most legitimate thing in the world to do,” the Religious Zionist Party lawmaker said during an interview with Kan Bet radio.
Smotrich added that “whoever lied, cheated, stole votes, joined the far-Left that harms anything holy, whoever sold our country to the Islamic Movement and is now going to do the same with the terrorists in the Joint List Party – and is definitely not worthy. I think people who turned their backs on the public should feel unwanted in public.”
In response, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett slammed Smotrich and pondered: “will a Jew boycott another Jew in a synagogue? That is what destroyed our nation 2,000 years ago,” in mentioning the destruction of the Second Temple.
“We have forgotten that we have a nation, a good nation, a positive nation, a nation that volunteers and assists,” Bennett said.
“Leftists love the country not a millimeter less than me. I don’t have a monopoly on the love of the Land of Israel, just as there is no monopoly on the love of mankind or the love of peace,” said Bennett. “It is very beautiful to say ‘we all love each other – but we will not sit with them’.”
“I am a Right-wing person and there are Left-wing people in the government, we have completely different opinions. But you know what I discovered? People with very different opinions also love this country.”
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked also responded to Smotrich’s harsh words in the interview. Taking to her Facebook page, she wrote: “As a non-religious woman, I usually go to the synagogue that I visited as a child with my father, on holidays and other occasions. I always felt that I was received warmly there. I feel that every Jew has a place to come and pray.
“Bezalel, who apparently forgot the words of our sages regarding the fact that anyone who humiliates his friend in public ‘is likened to shedding blood’ thinks that the worshipers should expel me from the synagogue,” Shaked posted.
“Bezalel will not make me stop going to synagogue and during this holiday, with God’s help, I will come to pray. “
Ne’Emanei Torah Va’avodah: “Words such as these led to the destruction of Temples. This is cynical exploitation of religion and the holy sites for political purposes. We vehemently reject such statements and call for the burning of these thoughts on the eve of Passover. A synagogue is a place for every Jew. Woe betide us if we appoint gatekeepers who will decide who may, or may not enter.”