Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid on Wednesday responded to various statements given by Haredi parties Shas and United Torah Judaism, that Lapid intends to act in anti-religious and anti-Haredi ways, most notably on the issue of burden equality (code for Haredim in military or national service).
“The Haredi parties are busy spreading the rumor that I am plotting to hurt the Torah world. There is no greater nonsense,” Lapid wrote on his Facebook page, noting that “all my life I read and study the Bible. In my eyes, the study of Torah is part of Israel’s existence. There are two rabbis among the Yesh Atid MKs.”
According to Lapid, “the fact that some people devote most of their lives to Torah study is worthy of praise, and I even think we should include the Talmud as part of the national education in secular schools.”
However, Lapid stated that “the study of Torah cannot become an excuse for eight-year-old children not to study math and English, for 18-year-olds not to serve their homeland, and 28-year-olds not to work for a living.”
“King David was a combat fighter, Maimonides studied secular topics, Nahmanides and Rashi worked for a living – do the Haredi parties claim that they, too, damaged the Torah world?” Lapid wondered, adding, “Everyone has the right to learn, but learning cannot be an excuse for a person not to meet their most basic obligations to their country, family and society.”
Lapid concluded: “there are seventy faces to the Torah, so don’t believe anyone who tells you he is the sole representative of the God of Israel.”