Religious parties form joint campaign to fight government

Shas and United Torah Judaism will not be joining a right-wing rally planned for Tuesday in Tel Aviv by Likud and the Religious Zionist Party.

The egalitarian section of the Western Wall last week with new wooden floorboards. (photo credit: LIBA CENTER)
The egalitarian section of the Western Wall last week with new wooden floorboards.
(photo credit: LIBA CENTER)

Shas, United Torah Judaism and the Religious Zionist Party announced over the weekend that they will join forces in a new campaign to prevent changes to the status quo on matters of religion and state.

The three religious parties formed a joint campaign to fight proposed reforms in conversion, kosher certification and prayer at the Western Wall. The campaign will target Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana, Construction Minister Ze’ev Elkin and Labor MK Gilad Kariv, who is a Reform rabbi.

“We will present a united front against the destructive steps taken by the malicious government,” they said in a joint statement. “We must defend the Jewish state and its values from the malicious Reform coalition of Bennett, Lapid and Liberman and those who carry out the destruction: Kahana, Kariv and Elkin.”

The three parties will hold a joint faction meeting at the Knesset on Monday in which they will announce the first steps of the public campaign.

A source in UTJ said mass prayer rallies would be held soon. But Shas and UTJ will not be joining a right-wing rally planned for Tuesday in Tel Aviv by the Likud and the Religious Zionist Party, even though the demonstration is about the religious character of the state.

A source in United Torah Judaism said mass prayer rallies would be held soon. But Shas and United Torah Judaism will not be joining a right-wing rally planned for Tuesday in Tel Aviv by Likud and the Religious Zionist Party, even though it the demonstration is about the religious character of the state.

 Jewish men clash with police as members of the Women of the Wall movement hold Rosh Hodesh prayers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem Old City, November 5, 2021. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90) Jewish men clash with police as members of the Women of the Wall movement hold Rosh Hodesh prayers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem Old City, November 5, 2021. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu urged the public to attend the rally in a social media post on Saturday night. But he himself will not be speaking at the event, organizers of the demonstration said.

“Many of you are at home, screaming and worried about what the weak and dangerous government is doing,” Netanyahu said. “They sold everything out to the Islamic Movement. So don’t stay home. Make your voice heard.”

Top religious Zionist rabbis will address the rally.

Tension is expected at the Western Wall on Sunday, when the Women of the Wall will hold their monthly prayer service.

Bennett plans to intervene in resolving the dispute over the controversial Western Wall agreement this week by sending his cabinet secretary, Shalom Shlomo, to meet with representatives of the Reform and Conservative movements on Thursday.

Also on Sunday, the Ministerial Committee on Legislation will vote on a controversial immigration bill proposed by Religious Zionist Party MK Simcha Rothman.