The Knesset outdid itself Monday as a stage for comic-tragedy, with Haredi Knesset Members Porush sealing the show and chaining himself to the podium microphone before the legislature passed on first reading the “equal military burden” bill.
His handcuff shtick illustrated what he said will happen if Haredi youth are arrested for refusing to serve the country in the military or national service. “Even if they put handcuffs on them, they will continue to learn Torah,” he proclaimed.
MK Porush also sounded like a Reform Jew on Monday, ruling against nearly 2,000 years of Jewish tradition. Monday was Tu B’Av, the 15th of the month of Av that shares with Yom Kippur the distinction of being the two most joyous days in the year, according to the Talmud.
But what is the Talmud when your own interests are being hurt? MK Porush declared from the Knesset podium, “The 15th day of Av…has become a day of mourning.”
Other Haredi MKs were not to be outdone in announcing how God works.
Some people are so stupid that they think that the unrest in the Golan Heights is because of the Syrian civil war and not due to Divine Retribution for the draft bill, but Haredi MK Moshe Gafni knows better.
With deep insight into the mysterious workings of God, the distinguished Knesset Member also declared that all of Israel’s economic problems are because of the draft bill.
Torah sages wrote centuries ago that it was the People of Israel’s own sins that brought down the First and Second Temples.
But even God did not reverse the order. The Temples were not destroyed before Israel’s own rebellion against God and fellow Jews. They were destroyed afterwards.
MK Gafni may have been studying Torah – when he is not delivering his own accounts of God’s behavior – the past few years, but the spillover into the Golan from the chaos in Syria started long before the “equal military burden” bill was presented to the Knesset.
The economy has been in trouble for a couple of years, but why let that facts get in a way of the opinion of a Haredi MK whose golden ox is being gored.
MK Gafni, in a display of unbrotherly love, called the draft bill’s leading sponsor Finance Minister Yair Lapid “a cynical man who does not care about the People of Israel.”
Haredi MK Yaakov Litzman summed up the illogical reasoning of his colleagues by asking, “Are all of the solutions to the problems in the country dependent on hatred of Haredim?”
How does he know Lapid hates Haredim? It is simple. Lapid wants them to serve in the army. If that isn’t proof, what is?
Before the grand show in the Knesset, the Haredi Knesset members and supporters did a warm-up and gathered in the corridors to say Selichot prayers of repentance and blow the shofar, as is the custom on the days of asking forgiveness for sins.
Monday was probably the first time in modern Israel that Jews mourned in public on one of two most joyous days of the year. Their theatrics put the Women of the Wall to shame, and it is not coincidental that both grows use twisted reasoning to further their own political agenda in the name of all of Israel.
Stick around. The show will get better – or worse, depending on your mood. Monday’s production was after the first reading of the bill.
The Haredi MKs are going to have to work hard to come up with another show at the next readings and final passage, but trust them. They will come up with another good show, even if it means having to learn a little less Torah.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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