Degel Ha’Torah faction leader and Finance Committee Chairman MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) on Saturday night explained why his party had kept mum on the brutal attacks against Jews who were trying to pray on Yom Kippur in Tel Aviv.
“When you pray Kol Nidrei in Dizengoff Circle, these people come and pull the fringes of those who are there, then we are in the middle of a religious war!” he declared, adding, “That’s why we, members of Degel Ha’Torah, are not giving media interviews, because it won’t help anything.”
“You aren’t against the judicial reform, nor anything similar,” Gafni reiterated, addressing the anarchist leaders of the protest movement.” You are waging a religious war against us.”
Speaking at his party event ahead of the municipal elections, Gafni said Israel’s economy is in excellent condition, contrary to the warnings of the leaders of the economy that it would be damaged as a result of the judicial reform.
“I met with the leading economists many months ago, and they explained to me about the reform, what a difficult problem it is, and what might happen to the economy if it passed. By the way, quite a long time has passed since then and the economy is in excellent shape,” he said.
“I told them – you don’t mean the judicial reform, nor anything similar to that, you are waging a religious war against us,” Gafni continued. “And what we saw on Yom Kippur in Tel Aviv is the proof.”
“Let us be clear – their war is not about economics, nor security, nor social, it is a religious war. This is how it should be treated, and we must be careful not to say things that aren’t necessary,” he cautioned.
“I had a lot to say after the attacks on the latest budget transfers [to the Haredi sector] at the Finance Committee, but it won’t help, we got caught up on our watch in a war on all that is holy and dear to the people of Israel – and with God’s help we will survive,” Gafni concluded.
Gafni was referring to the riot that broke out last week in the Finance Committee over the funding of Haredi institutions which came from the coalition assets – extra-budgetary money reserved for the coalition parties to spend as they see fit. Left-wing MKs and many in the mainstream media suggested the Haredi funding came at the expense of other budgetary items, but in reality, it came from coalition assets.
It is true, however, that this coalition’s extra-budgetary spending has reached some NIS 13.7 billion ($3.6 billion), compared with NIS 2 billion ($530 million) under the Bennett-Lapid government.