Jewish Home Party leader Naftali Bennett was attacked by a large group of hareidi Jews on a visit to the Western Wall Monday. As he attempted to say prayers at the Kotel, Hareidim began pushing him and yelling at him. A riot nearly broke out between many people at the Kotel who support Bennett and the hareidi groups who were attacking him.Are these really men of God? If they're going to commit such violence in the name of the Lord, how can they possibly be? They disgrace the Torah's teachings with their language, which is in violation of the belief that "life and death are in the power of the tongue" (Mishlei "החיים והמוות ביד הלשון מישלי יח כא").
The background to the hareidi attack is apparently the Jewish Home Party's stance that all Israelis, including hareidi, must serve in the IDF in some capacity,except for those who are in the yeshiva studying Torah all day. Among the catcalls hurled at Bennett were “take off your kippa, you are not Jewish,” “garbage,” and similar insults – some unprintable.
And then, there's that matter involving what rabbi Ovadia Yosef's been saying about them:
On Saturday night, Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef slammed Bennett and the Jewish Home Party, calling them “non-religious. They come to uproot the Torah. Those who elect them deny the Torah, this is the Jewish Home? This is the Jewish Home of the gentiles.They come to promote civil marriage, to promote public transportation on Shabbat, these are religious people? You cannot call them religious, you must not vote for them,” he said. [...]And if they study Torah too and honor traditions, how can any of their rivals in Shas say such horrible things about them? This too is in violation of the Mishlei verses, and makes me very sad how Shas has been teetering on near selfish attitudes in their campaign. They are not fit to be politicians.
Former MK Rabbi Chaim Druckman, venerable head of the Bnei Akiva yeshiva network and Or Etzion hesder yeshiva, accused the three leaders of Shas of misleading their 92 year old Torah sage and giving him false information. He said that he knew the Bayit Yehudi candidates personally and that they were Torah observant Jews and included seriousTorah scholars and rabbis.
Even Ayelet Shaked, the first woman and so-called secular candidate on the list, is not really secular and observes much Jewish tradition, although she is not normatively religious.
Update: one Haredi youth was detained by the police for harrassing Bennett.
Update 2: and speaking of Shas, Aryeh Deri's called for cutting the defense budget despite the threats from Iran. This is an absolute disgrace. Our lives could be in serious danger and all he's concerned about is Torah study? How can anyone study properly if there's danger looming?
Update 3: Rabbi Dov Lior is saddened by Yosef's attack on the Jewish Home.