Members of Benjamin Netanyahu’s new right-wing religious government say one of the keys to stabilizing the Israeli economy is eliciting God’s help in an official and formal manner.
Specifically, the ultra-Orthodox party Shas has submitted a bill that would require Israeli currency to be printed with the phrase “In God We Trust.”
The Jewish people have a “clear and simple belief that everything is blessed by God, including economic abundance,” read the preamble to the bill, which goes on to explain that “it is important to be grateful to God and to express that faith on the banknotes of the State of Israel.”
Shas said that adding the phrase would be “a talisman for the economic success of Israel,” and noted that the Unites States of America, the most economically-powerful nation on earth, includes the same phrase on its currency.
Prior to taking office, Israel’s new Minister of Finance, Bezalel Smotrich, similarly stated that the Jewish state’s success was tied to observing God’s Word (Torah), and that he would take a biblical approach to managing the country’s economy.
Secular opposition lawmakers like Yisrael Beiteinu chief Avigdor Liberman mocked the Shas proposal. “That’s an interesting way to address Israel’s high cost of living,” Liberman tweeted sarcastically.
While Israel is economically strong as a whole, the local cost of living has long ago outstripped the average monthly income of many Israelis. This is particularly true in major cities like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, where young families today find it impossible to buy a home.
Segregated swimming for all?
Among the other religious-motivated bills being presented by the Netanyahu government are motions to provide gender-segregated bathing hours at natural springs found in national parks across the country, and the banning of of hametz (leaven) at public hospitals during Passover.
Both issues were raised by the other ultra-Orthodox coalition party, United Torah Judaism.
The matter of public hospitals continuing to provide leaven goods, such as baked bread, during Passover for non-Jewish or non-observant patients and staff nearly brought down the previous government.
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