From time to time, particularly during the run-up to elections, ultra-Orthodox politicians require an effective secular figure to play the villain in a production that also stars the "loyal Jews" and the "time of persecution."
A search for such a figure has been continuing since Tommy Lapid left politics and his Shinui party disappeared. That's why there were some Haredi MKs who hurried to find a Haredi connection in the decision by Lapid's son, Yair, to pursue a political career.
Shas MK Nissim Zeev, for example, told reporters, "It's natural that such a monster, who is built on hatred of Judaism and will be a second edition of Tommy Lapid, is going to emerge."
Israel Eichler, of United Torah Judaism, said, "Whoever hasn't seen the incitement campaign of recent months as the opening blast of this party are the only ones who can be surprised. We aren't."
But most Haredi politicians refused to talk about Lapid. They explained that since it wasn't election season, there was no reason to get too excited over him.
One said that Lapid, whose route to his decision included consultations with Haredi and religious-Zionist figures, would have difficulty filling his father's role as enemy of the ultra-Orthodox and that, in any case, there is no evidence that he plans to.
Another Haredi politician noted that Lapid's entrance into politics wasn't likely to cause any changes in the religious political constellation, but the shake-ups likely among the secular parties might actually benefit the Haredim. "He will be playing with mandates belonging to Kadima and Labor," he said. "Instead of one big Kadima, there will be three parties of approximately the same size, with Meretz the little sister. It doesn't matter much to the Haredim."
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