Yisrael Eichler, a lawmaker with the coalition party United Torah Judaism, prefers new elections to what is currently happening in the government, and asserts that Israel’s military elite carried out a coup against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Due to the this situation, Eichler said his party is reconsidering their place in the coalition, and that early elections should not be ruled out given that Netanyahu has effectively lost control. All of this was told by the longtime member of Knesset to the ultra-Orthodox news portal Hadrei Haredim. It is important that such voices are conveyed via Israel Today as well, for these are the sentiments of the nation’s ultra-Orthodox Jews, who have something to say about the spectacle surrounding controversial judicial reform and are increasingly concerned by secular criticism of their communities. They consider themselves equal citizens of Israel, even if they don’t serve in the army, don’t work, don’t pay taxes, and don’t take basic government education like math, history, English, etc.
“The government must reassess our position in this coalition,” stressed Eichler. “If there are no reforms, if the issue of Orthodox Jewish military recruitment is not settled and if no budget is passed, we will have to reconsider what we are doing in this governing coalition,” he said. “Maybe we need to have elections again.” He dismissed criticism that the Orthodox Jewish position was selfish. “If Bibi were a true leader, he would pass judicial reform immediately, unless certain powers stage a military coup against him. And I say a military coup was carried out against him, he has no control,” he explained in reference to the refusal of some IDF reservists, including elite Air Force pilots, to report for duty in protest of judicial reform.
Eichler also fears that the ultr-Orthodox Jews could be deprived of the right to vote. On the right-wing Channel 14 News, journalist Nava Dromi said that “the Orthodox have become the ‘Jews’ of Israeli society,” a phenomenon that manifests in growing disdain for the Orthodox, sometimes even through antisemitic remarks.
Eichler’s party colleague Yaakov Asher told the opposition yesterday that anyone who contributes to the incitement and slander against Jewish Orthodoxy, regardless of which party they belong to, or those who remain silent in the face of it, will not be cleansed of their sins. Asher added: “We will not be coalition partners with people who discredit an entire sector of society simply because it is different from what they know. We will always take care of our Orthodox community in Israel.”
Israel’s secular population only sees how the Orthodox parties receive over 13 billion shekels from the government coffers for their yeshivas and religious school system. “The Orthodox Jews only want money, money, money. That has always been the case,” said former member of the Knesset Daniel Ben Simon. “I can’t live with these people, just as they can’t live with me.” Popular television presenter Galit Gutmann caused a major stir when she said in a live Channel 12 broadcast at the weekend: “The Orthodox Jews are bloodsuckers. You have lost all shame. Enough is enough. You have to tell the truth as it is.” Of course, she had to apologize immediately after being accused of antisemitism.
The Orthodox Jews see this as Jewish antisemitism and sense that this is a growing phenomenon in the nation. They also complain that their own coalition allies are not doing enough for them, especially not Netanyahu, who, according to Eichler and other Orthodox politicians, has ceded control. Whether or not this is true remains debatable. But that’s how the Orthodox Jews in the country feel at the moment.
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