MK Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh), Chairman of the National Union, told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday that in 20 or 30 years the country and the army will have a religious majority.
He asked the Head of Personnel Branch, Major General Orna Barbivai, to accept religious soldiers with love and not make it more difficult for them to serve.
He was referring to recent attempts to force religious soldiers to watch women singing in entertainment events – in contravention of halakhic precepts and rabbincal instructions.
"I love the hareidi public with all my soul," Ketzaleh said. "First of all, because all of our grandfathers and grandmothers until two, three, four generations ago were hareidim and I love my grandfather and love my great grandfather, who had a hat, beard and peot [sidelocks -- ed.]"
"I also love our sons and grandsons, because I have sons with beards and peot, and they were battalion commanders in the IDF Paratroopers," he added.
"I say to the hareidi public: first of all, keep on having large numbers of children, it has a contagious effect on everyone. They are taking care of Israeli demography. One needs 12 and 15 children… keep at it."
"I can promise you, Major General Barbivai, in 10 years – don’t worry – in 20, 30 years, our army will be flooded with guys who have beards and peot (sidelocks) . In 10, 15, 20 years the religious and hareidi public will be the majority in the country. You can't do anything about it, that's how it is… it's a reality one needs to be aware of," Ketzaleh said.
"The intent needs to be – how do we absorb this population and turn it into the main pillar of Israel, the backbone, with all the kindness that it contains, and the love of Torah and the nation and morality," he added.