With The Help Of Right-Wing Allies, Haredim Block Funding For IDF Lone Soldiers Center
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Local haredi political parties in Jerusalem have prevented a center for lone IDF soldiers (soldiers who have no family in Israel, usually new immigrants) from opening because the center was slated to be run by a secular neighborhood administration haredim dislike, Ha’aretz reported.
Late last week, the haredi parties blocked 170,000 shekels ($43,000) in funding for the lone soldiers' center in Jerusalem’s City Council’s Finance Committee. The funding proposal with be brought up for a vote again next week, and secular Mayor Nir Barkat is supposed to be strongly in favor of it.
The money would have gone to the Yovlim neighborhood administration in the Kiryat Yovel and have been earmarked for the center.
There are approximately 200 lone soldiers in Jerusalem, but that didn’t stop haredim from blocking the center’s funding.
“We are not against lone soldiers. We are against the Yovlim administration, which ignores the 25% of its residents [i.e., haredim] who are not entitled to receive money from the administration. Every Friday I myself host lone soldiers, but we are firm in our position that as long as [Yovlim] doesn’t change its ways, we won’t transfer appropriations to it,” Councilman Rabbi Yitzhak Pindrus of Ashkenazi haredi United Torah Judaism Party said.
The haredi move to block the center’s funding was tacitly supported by some of the committee’s right-wing.
Two political allies of mayor skipped the meeting altogether and committee chairman Shmuel Shkedi of the right-wing United Jerusalem party reportedly abstained from the vote, ensuring the funding bill would fail.
The funding for the center was supported by the Hitorerut, Yerushalmim and Meretz parties. Yerushalmim’s head is a Modern Orthodox woman, Rachel Azaria.
Hitorerut Councilman Ofer Berkowitz lashed out the haredi parties after the funding for the center was blocked.
“They crossed an ethical red line — this is politics of the lowest kind. I think they’re embarrassing the haredi community. I don’t think the haredim would want to hurt lone soldiers,” Berkowitz reportedly said.