Haredi Author Compares Lapid Remarks to Speech by Hitler

Chaim Walder essay, 'Soul-deep hatred with no holds barred,' concerns a letter Yair Lapid wrote two years ago about funding for the ultra-Orthodox sector.

Yair Ettinger
Yair Ettinger
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Yair Ettinger
Yair Ettinger

Ultra-Orthodox publicist and children's author Chaim Walder took Finance Minister Yair Lapid to task on Sunday in an essay published by the Haredi newspaper Yated Ne'eman, comparing remarks the latter made two years ago to the text of a 1939 speech by Adolf Hitler.

Walder's essay, “Soul-deep hatred with no holds barred,” references a letter Lapid wrote in Yedioth Ahronoth addressed to an imaginary Haredi man: "I have no more money to pay for all of that,” Lapid wrote in the letter. "It’s finished, it’s over, there’s no more.... We have to find a way, my friend, or it will end badly. As the saying goes: Companionship or death."

The ultra-Orthodox author warned in his essay that Lapid's remarks were reminiscent of the Nazi leader's attitude, quoting the sections of Hitler's 1939 speech in which he declared:

"Europe will not have peace until the Jewish question has been disposed of. The world has sufficient capacity for settlement, but we must finally break away from the notion that a certain percentage of the Jewish people are intended by our dear God to be the parasitic beneficiary of the body and of the productive work of other peoples. Jewry must adapt itself to respectable constructive work, as other peoples do, or it will sooner or later succumb to a crisis of unimaginable proportions.”

Walder also recalls secular Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea’s recent call to the ultra-Orthodox to engage in soul-searching, writing: “The gentiles’ hatred of Jews had something similar.... When the gentiles truly wished to harm us, they needed some excuse.”

While Walder qualifies in his essay that secular Israelis clearly do not wish to see the physical destruction of the ultra-Orthodox population, their approach to the Haredi sector should be seen as nothing less than "dictatorship."

"Of course, no comparison to the Holocaust should be made, and it’s obvious that the haters of religion have no intention of destroying the Haredim physically (despite the unbridled incitement that could lead to terrible disasters, God forbid)," wrote Walder. "But they still have explicit, malicious intentions regarding our quality of life and our ability to live normal lives, and [they intend] to take basic rights away from us... Dictatorship at its best."

Walder, considered a prominent Haredi polemicist, writes regularly for Yated Ne’eman, the newspaper of the Haredi community’s Lithuanian sector. His children’s books have been sold in tens of thousands of copies in Hebrew and in English.

Yair Lapid speaking in the Knesset, April 22, 2013.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

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