What did Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promise the Ashkenazi haredi United Torah Judaism Party (UTJ) in return for UTJ agreeing to join Netanyahu’s likely new coalition government? A lot. And much of it is very damaging to Israel's future – and to haredi children.
Above: Benjamin Netanyahu
Netanyahu Promises Haredim Their Schools Won’t Have To Teach Secular Subjects, Will Still Get State Funding
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
What did Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promise the Ashkenazi haredi United Torah Judaism Party (UTJ) in return for UTJ agreeing to join Netanyahu’s likely new coalition government?
Here’s a quick set of bullet points (based on Jerusalem Post reporting) detailing what Netanyahu and his Likud Party promised UTJ in writing:
• The recent law mandating that haredim be drafted into the IDF like all other Israeli Jews will be changed to allow the defense minister to set draft/enlistment quotas for haredim – meaning those quotas can be set artificially low or even at zero.
• No sanctions or criminal penalties of any kind will be imposed on any haredi yeshiva student who dodges the draft (such that is).
• Despite Israeli law mandating the country’s core curriculum be taught, government funding for haredi schools that fail to teach even any secular subjects will not be reduced or stopped. A law will be passed by the new Knesset to guarantee this.
• The Conversion Reform Law which was put in place through an administrative order after Netanyahu blocked the full Knesset from passing the bill earlier this year will be gutted to end the decentralization of conversion to Judaism that was supposed to be the new law’s heart and soul. Local chief rabbis of cities, towns and rural areas – many of whom are Zionist Orthodox or Modern Orthodox – will no longer be allowed to form their own conversion courts and perform their own conversions. Instead, conversion to Judaism will again be completely in the control of Israel’s haredi-controlled Chief Rabbinate.
• The law mandating that at least four women sit on the official state Committee for Appointing Rabbinical Judges will be revoked, effectively meaning few, if any, women will now serve on it.
• No new legislation changing the religion and state status quo will be passed – meaning no reform of religion and state issues will be possible during the term of the government.
• Some social service cuts enacted during the previous government – primarily National Insurance Institute child allotments – will be restored to their 2012 levels.
According to the report in the Jerusalem Post, MK Yair Lapid, the chairman of the Yesh Atid Party and the driving force behind many of the reforms the new government is now prepared to squander, lashed out on Army Radio yesterday morning at Netanyahu and the Likud Party over the promises they made to UTJ. Lapid said Likud was “selling out the state to haredi interests” and endangering Israel’s future in the process.
“The Likud is halting the process in which haredim are going out to work and it’s coming at the expense of the Israeli taxpayer. This is moral bankruptcy. The Likud is saying ‘I don’t care about anything else, the most important thing is that we’re in power, so I’ll sell the future of the children of taxpayers who will need to work even harder, and take their money and give it to people who don’t work.’ You look at the Likud and you say, you call yourselves a Zionist party, the national camp, and then an avowedly anti-Zionist party schools you in this way,” Lapid said, noting that no one in Likud was objecting to the concessions – even though top economists inside and outside of Israel view many of these concessions as extremely dangerous for Israel’s economy, for its future and security, and for its societal cohesion.
“We all live here together. I never wanted to defeat the haredim, we need to live together…But they [haredim and Likud] are saying we don’t care what happens tomorrow[, we just care about today]. But I do care [about the future], and this deal is returning us to a situation in which ‘everyone dwells with their own tribe,’ [where society is fractured and divided and] there’s no state, no one cares about the state or the future of the state,” Lapid said.