Charedi Knesset member Rabbi Moshe Gafni is a real piece of work. He makes the political revenge allegations against New Jersey Governor Chris Christie look like nothing by comparison.
I know how pained Charedim are about the draft and other pending legislation in Israel that they perceive to be an assault on the Torah. Much as I disagree with them, I understand their pain. Their strident responses are not entirely unexpected. But this has to take the award for the most unscrupulous revenge threat in the history of politics in Israel. From the Jewish Press:
Haredi MK Moshe Gafni (Yahadut HaTorah) told Makor Rishon that, to avenge the Shaked law, as soon as he is back in power, he will destroy the Hesder Yeshivas — where students both study Torah and serve in elite combat units. MK Gafni also threatened to end all funding to the settlements, and to dry them out, as soon as he is back in a government role. For the record, his one government role so far has been, during the 12th Knesset (this one is the 19th): Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs. In the past, in retaliation for budget cuts that hurt Haredi families, MK Gafni, who Chairs the Knesset Science and Technology Committee, also threatened to intentionally create problems the Finance Ministry would have to spend a lot of state money to fix.
How low can a politician go?! He is willing to destroy other Torah institutions – NOT to save his own – but as an act of revenge?! What kind of human being does something like this? Especially a religious one? Especially one who brags that his version of Judaism is not only the most religious and ethical but the most authentic? And threatening this at a time when many leaders of the Religious Zionist camp (where Hesder Yeshivos reside) actually support the Charedi side in opposition to drafting their students? …and will be joining them in Sunday’s mass prayer rally?
Does what he threatens to do represent Daas Torah? Does he have the approval of his rabbinic leadership?
If there is no protest from any Charedi rabbinic leader against this outrageous threat against Hesder Yeshivos, (not to mention the other vengeful things he plans to do) then of what value is their Daas Torah? How can Daas Torah support the destruction of Yeshivos just because they do not agree with their Hashkfafos?
Frankly I do not believe he has their support. I remember well R’ Elyashiv’s response to the slaughter of 8 Yeshiva Bachurim at Merkaz HaRav, the premiere Religious Zionist Yeshiva. He attended their funeral and walked with them in their procession. He did so despite his disagreements with them Hashkaficly. I remember saying that it was too bad that it had to come to this before there was any recognition of them as sincere Lomdei Torah… and wondering why it couldn’t always be like that…. and thinking that it would probably wear off in very short order. Well it did. And now we have this.
If I were a Charedi rabbinic leader in Israel, I would not only condemn Rabbi Gafni’s comments, I would ask him to resign from his seat in the Kenesst. What a Chilul HaShem!
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About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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