web analytics
April 28, 2015 / 9 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


The Haredi MK Fighting Religious Separatism: An Interview with Rabbi Dov Lipman


MK Rabbi Dov Lipman

MK Rabbi Dov Lipman

The biggest surprise of Israel’s election results in January was the phenomenal success of Yesh Atid – a new party headed by Yair Lapid that won 19 seats and is now part of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coalition government.

Yesh Atid is sometimes perceived as avidly secular, but two rabbis currently serve in the party as MKs. One is Rabbi Shai Piron, Israel’s new education minister. The other is Rabbi Dov Lipman, the first American-born Knesset member since Rabbi Meir Kahane. A graduate of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel and the holder of a Master’s degree in education from Johns Hopkins University, Rabbi Lipman made aliyah in 2004 and lives with his wife and four children in Beit Shemesh.

Last month, Rabbi Lipman was named a member of the Knesset’s Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs.

The Jewish Press: What is an Orthodox rabbi doing in a party that’s widely regarded as secular?

Rabbi Lipman: Before Yair Lapid even went into politics, he stood up before a haredi audience and said, “You won.” At the beginning of the state, he said, there was a battle for what Israel was going to be. Was it going to be secular, without Torah – possibly even without God? Or was it going to be religious-based? He said that we on the religious side have shown that there is no basis for us being in Israel without God. And then he said, “Now let’s work together.”

So from my perspective as someone who is haredi, to hear that call from a secular person and not to respond would be the worst thing that I could do. Therefore, I decided to see what Yair was all about, and I got to know him well. He’s not anti-religious, he’s not anti-Torah, he’s not anti-anything. He wants to work together on the things that we all agree about and move the country forward. He wants to break down the walls between the secular and the religious.

And that means what, for example?

We have a plan for national service – a compromise plan that takes into account the sensitivities of the haredi community. We also have an education plan which says, on the one hand, that there should be general studies on the religious side, but also that there should be more Jewish studies on the secular side.

We also want to help haredim get to the workforce. Can you imagine that the haredi parties have never had a task force to help haredim enter the workforce? I started that task force because I’m not interested in trying to keep us secluded and creating more walls.

There has been much hysteria over the proposed draft of haredim into the IDF. What is Yesh Atid’s precise position on this issue?

The starting point of Yesh Atid’s plan is that everybody serves – either in the military or in national service – but there will be exemptions for those who are the real iluyim.

The same way you have yeshivot hesder for the religious Zionist community, we will have similar programs for the haredi community that combine Torah learning and service. It will take five years to build those plans. In the interim, the plan states that any haredi who wants to leave yeshiva or kollel and go to work can do so – legally, as opposed to now where it is illegal [to work during the years of draft eligibility]. It is estimated that as many as 30 percent of haredim might take up that offer and leave tomorrow to learn a trade or go to work because [right now, economically] they’re starving.

Some people argue that the haredim aren’t bothering anyone. They just want to sit and learn and be left alone. Why can’t you respect their wishes?

Three answers. First, it’s destroying us as a people. Having a separate camp that does its own thing and doesn’t view itself as part of society is destructive. We were one people for 2,000 years, and if we were one people while we were persecuted, let’s be one people here in Israel. That’s number one.

Number two: Economically, it can’t work. You can’t have a society where this large of a population lives off the tax base but doesn’t contribute to it.

About the Author: Elliot Resnick is a Jewish Press staff reporter and author of “Movers and Shakers: Sixty Prominent Personalities Speak Their Mind on Tape” (Brenn Books).


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “The Haredi MK Fighting Religious Separatism: An Interview with Rabbi Dov Lipman

  1. I think the Rabbi is on the right road to moving forward and I wish him good luck and G-d bless.

    road

  2. Orah Peer says:

    Big yashar koach for this Article, is Amazing! I Agree with every word.

  3. Well said – go Dov!

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Desperate crowd awaits relief aid at Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus.
US: UNRWA Gets Add’l $6M for Yarmouk ‘Palestinians,’ Only $10M for Nepal
Latest Indepth Stories
Those who need care can least afford it: African refugees.

We could establish cities of refuge for the refugees; they’d become citizens of these new places.

The International Criminal Court building in the Hague, the Netherlands.

There is cause to believe the ICC is an improper venue for sorting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

.The real BDS.

Congress described it as “economic warfare against Israel” yet US Jewish leaders proudly finance it!

World Zionist Congress elections end April 30.

Groups promoting anti-Israel/anti-Jewish BDS right on their websites are running in the WZC election

Pataki is the last Republican Governor to win a majority of Jewish votes.

Obama’s desire to be “fair” enables Iran to get nuclear weapons which will threaten global security

All GOP candidates will continue seeking – and praying – for Jewish money with greater success.

The one reason to make Aliyah outweighs all the arguments not to move to Israel.

“We returned to this Land not in order to be murdered, or uprooted. We came here to be replanted!”

I don’t fear for the future of our people because I believe Yeshiva University has created an “Iron Dome” of Jewish leadership

Poland’s great Jewish cities where Jewish life had once flourished and thrived, were now desolate

Chief rabbi, Rav Dovid Lau, stated that the Torah community’s turnout in the WZO election is vital.

Iran has at its core the same ideology as that of ISIS but, inaccurately, is thought a lesser threat

An early Yom Ha’atzmaut gathering for Israel’s 67th birthday with Pres. Rivlin of Israel and guests

Israel’s Memorial Day shouldn’t be a day of mourning, it’s a day to honor, not another Holocaust Day

God’s 3 part promise for Israel: to the Avot; a plentiful land; the eventual return home by all Jews

More Articles from Elliot Resnick
Dr. Mitchell Bard

Mitchell Bard is nothing if not prolific. He has written and edited 23 books, including “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Middle East” and “The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East.” Bard, who has a Ph.D. in political science from UCLA, is also the executive director of both the […]

Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich

You have to understand that Ukraine was really a very, very Jewish place for many years.

What I think is going on here is the Midrash is making a comment about Rut’s love for Naomi being some sort of reflection of how we have to love God.

HarperCollins’s omission was especially egregious because it is a major general and educational publisher.

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

Nouril concluded he had no choice: He had to become more observant.

I was very pro-Israel, I was very proud of being Jewish, and I was living in New York at the time as a single man in my 20s and I was just looking for a little bit more.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/the-haredi-mk-fighting-religious-separatism-an-interview-with-rabbi-dov-lipman/2013/04/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: