Ultra-orthodox Leader Blasts Bennett for Calling to 'Limit Haredi Political Sway'

Shas leader Arye Deri calls Bennett 'a clown,' adding the PM is trying to 'strike out at the Haredim and widen his base'

Michael Hauser Tov
Michael Hauser Tov
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Aryeh Deri and Naftali Bennett in the Knesset in 2019.
Aryeh Deri and Naftali Bennett in the Knesset in 2019.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Michael Hauser Tov
Michael Hauser Tov

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s call for restraining the political power of Israel's Ultra-Orthodox community on Tuesday prompted an angry response from Shas Party Chairman and Haredi leader Arye Dery.

“You received six mandates and are a thief and a fraud who formed a scam of a government that defies the promises you made to your voters,” Dery said about Bennett in an interview with Channel 13 television.

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Dery was responding to Bennett’s earlier remarks on Tuesday at a conference sponsored by The Jerusalem Post, where he said, “We are the Jewish state. I am happy there are Haredim, but we need to limit their political sway.”

Referring again to the six Knesset seats that the prime minister’s Yamina Party has in the Knesset, Dery said, “Who says things like this? Not a party leader that the people supported … To come and say [this] to a million people that over several elections got 16 mandates and more … he’s a clown.”

Dery said Bennett is “starting to look at the minimum threshold for entering the Knesset from below, so he’s trying to do what Lieberman does – strike out at the Haredim, and win a little more sympathy, widen his base.”

Bennett also said in his address on Tuesday that he and his government represent all the people of Israel.

“This is not a sectorial government. We’re not taking care of a particular sector but of all Israelis and even that’s a novelty,” he said. “But for that to happen there has to be real dialogue. And dialogue consists of talking but also a very novel thing in Israel called listening. Yeah, we ain’t that good at that.”

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