Israel's ultra-Orthodox Politicians, It's You Who Should Take Off Your Kippa

Uri Misgav
Uri Misgav
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Ultra-Orthodox lawmakers Arye Dery, Yaakov Litzman and Moshe Gafni at the Western Wall, May 2016.
Ultra-Orthodox lawmakers Arye Dery, Yaakov Litzman and Moshe Gafni at the Western Wall, May 2016.Credit: Emil Salman
Uri Misgav
Uri Misgav

A government of change is a nice name, as is a government of repair, healing, mending. It would seem, naturally, that these names refer to Benjamin Netanyahu, his rule and the political culture he instilled here, to the destruction he sowed. After all, this is the essence of the coalition that formed against him (Just Not Bibi).

LISTEN: In his final days, Bibi unleashes his most toxic minions

-- : --

But this week, we received a sharp reminder of what this government, to be sworn in next Sunday (Hashem and Allah willing) is about. It will be a government without the ultra-Orthodox. That is the real change, the repair and the healing, no less than a government without Netanyahu, as hard as this is to believe.

But the truth is, these two things go hand in hand. For a long time now it’s been impossible to untether Netanyahu from the Haredim, which is why they’re fated to sink together, hand in hand.

I watched Yaakov Litzman, Arye Dery and Moshe Gafni this week, running wild, vilifying the nascent government. It was a horrific performance, carried out at the behest of Netanyahu. At its peak, they demanded that Naftali Bennett take off his kippa.

Litzman yelled that “this is an extreme left government which has lost its way, its values and conscience.”

Dery cried out that “the country is changing its face, its character and identity. Under the auspices of kippa-wearers whose lust for power is blinding them, they are about to fulfill the dream of Meretz, Merav Michaeli and Labor, as well as that of Reform Jews, Lapid and Lieberman. This government will tear the people of Israel to shreds.”

Gafni screamed: “I appeal to the voters of Yamina and Religious Zionism – condemn, boycott and ostracize these people, cast them out so they are removed from our sight. They are like the biblical Korah and his followers” – who were, incidentally, swallowed by the earth and burned in a divine fire.

I watched and asked myself whether Litzman, Dery and Gafni understand how much they make themselves hated by the public they pretend to represent, and how much they make Judaism and religion hated among the general public. I wondered if they really didn’t know or if they knew but didn’t care.

If we were together in one room, this is what I’d like to tell them: You take off your kippa, you bunch of rogues and shameless thieves, with you and your assistants facing criminal indictments, with your oppression of women and your homophobia, with your support of rapists and pedophiles, with your parasitism, extortion and trickery, with your racism and hatred of secular left-wingers and Reform Jews. You don’t have a monopoly on anything here, you get out of our sight.

And they will. They will because they must. Because the year of the coronavirus epidemic was their Yom Kippur War. Then too, it took a while before Golda Meir paid the price. The Mount Meron disaster – whose investigation they naturally oppose, seeing as they are the main culprits, and to hell with the 45 dead who were among their followers – was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

They were somewhat confused, the Litzmans, Derys and Gafnis. They were simply in power for too long, growing fat and impudent. That’s how it always is. And then came the epidemic, and with Biblical imagery revealed to Israelis that the Haredim under their current leadership don’t give a damn about them, with their behavior in yeshivas, banquet halls and at Ben Gurion Airport. Not only don’t they enlist in the army or join the labor force in adequate numbers; they don’t even make a minimal effort to show solidarity or integrate, to share in this country’s fate, to obey its laws.

Therefore, only if the Litzmans, Derys and Gafnis are replaced by a new generation, a decent and pragmatic one, will it be possible to begin talking about healing and integration. Until then, it is imperative to have a government without Haredim, and obviously, without Netanyahu and his lackeys, who bribed and greased them at the expense of Israel and its future. On the day that happens, one may start wondering if maybe there is a God after all.

Click the alert icon to follow topics: