During a speech in the Knesset Plenum, extreme-right MK Avi Maoz (Noam Party) said that the mayor of Tel Aviv should learn from New York’s mayor regarding how to relate to the Jewish-orthodox community. “This is how they treat yeshivas in New York and this is how they treat yeshivas in Tel Aviv,” he said, comparing the mayors of these two cities.
Maoz related to the Sunday evening announcement of the he Tel Aviv municipality that it is withdrawing from an agreement reached between it and the Ma’aleh Eliahu yeshiva. The agreement between the yeshiva and the city was that Ma’aleh Eliahu would evacuate the buildings that currently host the institution and in return would be able to move into an old synagogue in the city. Yet since there have been demonstrations by local Tel Aviv residents against this move, the municipality decided to stop the procedure, even though some of the buildings have reportedly already been evacuated.
Bringing in information from New York City
Maoz quoted a speech made by NY Mayor Eric Adams, last week, “Adams spoke at an event organized by the Orthodox Union,” he said and quoted Adams’s pledge of support for yeshivas. In the speech, which he delivered last Wednesday, the New York City mayor suggested that the city’s public schools were failing students and should follow the yeshivas’ example.
“But instead of us focusing on, how do we duplicate the success of improving our children, we attack the yeshivas that are providing a quality education that is embracing our children,” he said.
He added, “But we’re asking, ‘What are you doing in your schools?’ We need to ask, ‘What are we doing wrong in our schools?’ And learn what you are doing in the yeshivas to improve education.”
In his speech, Adams also said he doesn’t “apologize for believing in God,” and added, “We are a country of faith and belief, and we should have it anywhere possible to educate and to help uplift our children in the process.” The remarks recalled comments he made in March, when he said, “Our challenge is not economics, our challenge is not finance, our challenge is faith – people have lost their faith.”
Moaz quoted Adams’s speech in the Knesset and then said “on the other hand, the Ma’aleh Eliahu Yeshiva in Tel Aviv was asked to vacate the compound where it has been operating, next to the Ichilov Hospital, for over 20 years, in order to establish a school and in return, it was assigned a large synagogue not far from there.” Maoz continued: “However, in the eyes of a handful of anti-religious people, this was considered ‘ridiculous’ and they began a struggle, which seems to be fueled by a lot of money, to prevent the yeshiva from entering the same compound.” He added that “yesterday, activists of the Black Flags movement and Crime Minister demonstrators demonstrated there as well.”
Maoz rhetorically asked “Why did they protest? Is it because this yeshiva is only for men and not egalitarian?” He added that Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai “began hinting that the municipality will withdraw from its commitments to the yeshiva.”
Maoz explained that in his opinion, “this was not an innocent protest, but the continuation of the struggle of a small and extreme minority, who wants to fight everything that ‘smells’ of Judaism,” out of what he sees as a deep fear of being exposed to “an enlightened Judaism.”