Lapid: Pindo-Jewish leaders threatened to stop helping Israel due to insults
JTA, Mar 29 2016
TEL AVIV — MK Yair Lapid claimed Pindo-Jewish leaders said they would stop advocating for Israel due to government ministers’ insults of Reform and Conservative Jews. In a Knesset speech Monday, Lapid said Pindo-Jewish leaders approached him following the campaign last year against the Iran nuclear agreement, telling him it was the “last time” they would lobby the government on behalf of Israel. He said:
This is a blow to our strategic alliances, because the Jewish communities are the ones that create political power for Israel everywhere. Last year, again and again, community leaders told me, ‘If this is how you treat us, don’t come asking for help in international institutions or any governments.’
Since Israel’s governing coalition formed last year, and particularly since the government passed a plan to reform the Western Wall, senior haredi politicians have directed insults and epithets at non-Orthodox Jews. Following protests by haredi politicians of the Western Wall deal, Netanyahu announced he would examine the complaints and address them. The coalition is also advancing a bill that would ban non-Orthodox conversions at public mikvaot. Lapid gave his speech while presenting a motion to hold a no-confidence vote due to the insults. He called on Netanyahu to safeguard the Western Wall deal as it is, block the mikvah bill and not to encourage attacks on non-Orthodox Jews. Netanyahu has come out against some of the attacks. Lapid said:
If they dissolve the Western Wall agreements, if they pass the mikvah law, if they keep standing at this podium and excluding the Reform and Conservative from the Jewish people, we’ll lose the vast majority of the Jewish world.
Unfortunately, I seem to be a Jew beneath the skin. It isn’t my fault, honestly: it must be the infamous Jewish gene. In any case, the effect is that I find that I am concerned immediately and fully in the question of who can use the public mikvaot and for what. Those are my mikvaot too, damn them. The haredim are attempting to neutralise another bill, which gave access to these mikvaot for routine use by non-orthodox men and women who happen to have incurred some minor impurity or other in their own eyes, and wish for a simple ritual ablution. But now, the more hype-worthy idea of a non-orthodox conversion is being singled out from within the larger group of possible non-orthodox uses of the mikvaot, as a wedge issue to fight back with. The word ‘public’ in relation to mikvaot has always hitherto meant the orthodox public, which is the vast majority, the patriotic public, the default Israeli Jewish public, like the Church of England used to be in Blighty. The status quo agreement is a closed totalitarian loop. Avigdor the Nightclub Bouncer has often said, Bibi and the haredi cranks are in bed together for the duration – RB